Capitol rioter accused of assaulting cops with chemical spray served as Marine, to remain jailed before trial
A federal judge in Texas ruled Friday that a former Marine accused of dousing at least 15 police officers with a chemical spray outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 and bragging about it later on video will remain in custody, according to a report.
Daniel Ray Caldwell, 49, of The Colony, Texas, will stay behind bars until his trial in Washington, D.C., The Dallas Morning News reported.
After hearing testimony during several detention hearings in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Magistrate Judge Kimberly Priest Johnson decided no conditions of release would "reasonably assure the safety" of the community.
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Caldwell was arrested by FBI agents on Feb. 10 at Texas Instruments, his place of employment in Richardson, Texas, authorities said. He was fired following his arrest.
At a detention hearing on Feb. 22, Assistant U.S. Attorney Tracey Batson argued that Caldwell's alleged actions on Jan. 6 "indicate a lack of respect toward law enforcement" and that "his own words put him inside the Capitol."
According to an indictment unsealed Wednesday, Caldwell is now charged with seven counts: civil disorder; assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers using a dangerous weapon; entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon: engaging in physical violence in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon; disorderly conduct in a Capitol building; and act of physical violence in the Capitol grounds or buildings.
Video footage captured on mobile devices and later obtained by law enforcement allegedly showed Caldwell "assaulting federal agents and engaging in disruptive or disorderly conduct on the lower west terrace of the Capitol Building," FBI Special Agent Seth Webb wrote in the official statement of facts filed in the U.S. District Court in Washington on Feb. 8.
Daniel Ray Caldwell, was arrested by FBI agents on Feb. 10 at Texas Instruments, his place of employment in Richardson, Texas, authorities said. (Source: FBI)
According to the court documents, a Twitter account with the handle @chris_sigurdson shared two links on Jan. 27. The first was to a YouTube video titled, "Storm The Capitol w/ dream floral." Caldwell, wearing an "olive drab in color hoodie, dark glasses on a camouflage hat, camouflage assault pack, and camouflage trousers," was seen "spraying a mist at police who were attempting to stop protesters from getting up the Capitol steps."
The documents included screenshots of the video.
The second link shared on Twitter was to a video interview published by ProPublica. It appeared to have been recorded on Jan. 6 at 4:54 pm in the lobby of the Renaissance Hotel in Arlington, Va. Caldwell, wearing the same outfit as earlier in the day, with a red "Guns SAVE Lives" sticker added to his hoodie, is heard recounting events outside the Capitol, answering questions from two female voices off-camera.
"Probably 10 minutes after we started storming, a big fight broke out and the guns go off and one girl got hit in the neck," Caldwell said, recalling how police fired rubber bullets. "Then the fights started and they took their guys and somebody grabbed her and they took off."
"We stayed there and they kept spraying pepper spray," he continued, referring to officers. "I was like, 'Dude, do it again, and I'll spray you back.' And he did and I sprayed back; got like 15 of them and that's when they shot me with that big canon with rubber bullets."
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A witness interviewed by the FBI said Caldwell participates in Airsoft Military Simulation (MilSim), "which is a live-action, in person simulation of armed conflict scenarios conducted by civilians that involve airsoft plastic projectiles launched by replica weapons, but do not involve actual firearms," the court documents said.
The witness described Caldwell as a "huge White supremacist" and "a complete wacko." The witness also said Caldwell would bring a real firearm to the course and had to be corrected on multiple occasions to return the firearm to his vehicle.
But at a detention hearing, his ex-wife, Kambria Ann Caldwell, refuted that claim, arguing that Caldwell is not a White supremacist and that he was friends with Black and Latino co-workers. She testified that her ex-husband receives VA disability services due to a traumatic brain injury he sustained in the early 1990s.
She also told the judge that Caldwell’s 13 rifles and four handguns are no longer in the home they’ve lived in together with their son since 2016, even after their marriage dissolved.
His attorney, John Hunter Smith, pointed out that Caldwell has not been identified in photos or videos inside the building on Jan. 6. Caldwell served in the Marines for five and a half years and was honorably discharged, Smith said. He worked in the semiconductor industry for over 25 years.
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The Justice Department said that more than 300 individuals have been charged in connection to the Capitol insurrection. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick's death remains under investigation.
"Regarding any connection to Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, we are not commenting or providing additional information on this active investigation," Melinda Urbina, a spokeswoman for FBI-Dallas Division, previously told Fox News last week, responding to a question about whether Caldwell’s case could be linked to Sicknick.
Capitol Police said the medical examiner’s report on Sicknick's death following the Jan. 6 attack is "not yet complete." Investigators are "awaiting toxicology results and continue to work with other government agencies regarding the death investigation."
"Officer Sicknick's family has asked for privacy during this difficult time and that the spreading of misinformation stop regarding the cause of his death," the statement said. "The Department and the Sicknick family appreciate the outpouring of support for our fallen officer."
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