WASHINGTON (AP) — A Trump supporter who stormed the Capitol wearing a “Make Space Great Again” hat had two handguns and 400 rounds of ammunition in his truck when he was arrested Thursday near the home of former President Barack Obama, federal authorities said Friday.
A federal prosecutor said in court Friday that Taylor Taranto, a 37-year-old man first identified by detectives online in August 2021, he also had a machete in the van he appeared to be living in. youAranto’s van has been parked near the DC jail in recent weeks and has appeared at protests in support of other defendants on January 6, videos on social media show. Noting that he lived in the van, a federal prosecutor said Taranto had «nowhere to go.»
Taranto is currently facing four misdemeanor counts in connection with the January 6said the federal prosecutor.
The prosecutor said Taranto has been in Washington to speak with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy about his offer of allowing the Jan. 6 defendants to review security footage of the Capitol riot relevant to their cases. Taranto had posted recordings of phone calls he made trying to gain access to social media footage of him.
Taranto acknowledged entering the Capitol on January 6 in social media posts and questioned why authorities did not arrest him. His attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Taranto showed up at Obama’s residence on Thursday after former President Donald Trump posted screenshots on his Truth Social platform that showed an alleged address of Obama’s Washington home. The Taranto account reposted Trump’s post.
«We’ve got these losers surrounded!» Taranto wrote yesterday on Telegram. «See you in hell, Podestá and Obama!».
Taranto will remain in custody at least until a detention hearing on Wednesday. US Magistrate Judge G. Michael Harvey said Friday that he had «some concern» for Taranto’s mental stability.
Taranto was identified by members of the Sedition Hunters community after a facial recognition search. appeared photos of him posing with a cardboard cutout of Trump at county Republican events in his home state of Washington.
The widow of a Metropolitan Police officer who committed suicide after defending the Capitol on January 6 has filed a lawsuit against Taranto and another man, David Walls-Kaufman, claiming they played a role in his death. Both men have denied involvement in the death of Officer Jeffrey Smith. Body camera footage of Smith appears to show that he, too, was struck with a flying metal object later in the evening, hours after he was part of a fight involving Walls-Kaufman and Taranto.
NBC News caught Taranto at the Walls-Kaufman sentencing earlier this month, where he confirmed his full name to court security officials who spoke to him after he used his cellphone in the courtroom in violation of court rules.
More than 1,000 people have been charged in connection with the January 6 attack, which involved more than 3,000 people. Taranto was one of hundreds of January 6 participants who have been identified by online detectives but have not been charged.