Former Lee County man seen carrying zip ties inside Capitol was arrested

Two men allegedly seen in viral photographs of the deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol have been arrested, the Washington, D.C., attorney general announced Sunday. Larry Rendell Brock and Eric Gavelek Munchel were both allegedly seen in pictures of the riot occupying the chambers of Congress while wearing tactical gear and holding plastic zip ties.

Munchel lived in Fort Myers as recently as March of last year. He also once worked on Fort Myers Beach.

Munchel was arrested in Tennessee on Sunday, the Justice Department said. He was charged with one count of knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority and one count of violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. A law enforcement source told CBS News that “a load of weapons” was found at Munchel’s residence and they are assessing whether they were legally owned.

eric munchel
Protesters enter the Senate Chamber on January 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C. The man wearing the black hat is allegedly Munchel.

The Justice Department claims that Munchel is the man seen “carrying plastic restraints, an item in a holster on his right hip, and a cellphone mounted on his chest with the camera facing outward, ostensibly to record events that day.”

Brock was arrested Sunday in Texas and charged with the same crimes as Munchel, the Justice Department said. The department alleged that Brock is the man seen in multiple photographs from the riots wearing a green helmet, tactical vest and black and camo jacket while also carrying plastic zip ties.

larry Brock
Protesters enter the Senate Chamber on January 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C. Brock is allegedly seen in this photo wearing a green helmet and camo jacket.

Brock was identified as a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel by John Scott-Railton, a senior researcher at Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto’s Munk School. Scott-Railton told CBS News that he used a combination of facial recognition software and a group of experts to help identify the patches on his clothing. Brock’s identity was first reported in The New Yorker.

After feeling confident in his identification, Scott-Railton told CBS News, “I decided it was time to contact the FBI and refer the info to them.”

“I didn’t immediately go public, but worked with [journalist] Ronan Farrow and his team of fact checkers at the New Yorker,” he said. “I believe American public needed to know but wanted to be certain.”

Brock is the second member of the Air Force to be implicated in the Capitol Hill riot. Ashli Babitt, the woman shot and killed by Capitol Police during Wednesday’s siege, was a U.S. Air Force veteran.

The arrests come one day after two other men allegedly seen in viral photos from the riots were taken into custody and charged. On Saturday, Jake Angeli, also known as the “QAnon Shaman,” was allegedly seen in multiple photos and videos from the riot shirtless and wearing horns and a fur hat on his head. Angeli was arrested in Arizona and faces the same charges as Brock and Munchel.

Adam Johnson, a 36-year-old Florida resident, was also arrested Saturday after he was identified as the man pictured carrying House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s lectern and waving to the camera.

At least 19 people have been charged with federal crimes relating to the Capitol assault. Authorities continue to search for others who were involved.

Munchel lived in the Fort Myers area as recently as March of last year. He also once worked on Fort Myers Beach. His former employer has denounced his actions.

People who frequent Doc Ford’s Fort Myers Beach location were shocked to learn that Munchel once worked there.

Evelyn and Charles Hennings say the attack never should’ve happened. “it never should have happened. It’s actually a disgrace and we hope we never ever see anything like it again,” they said.

The Department of Justice obtained pictures of Munchel in military-style clothing, with zip ties, a holster on his hip, and a phone close to his chest recording the entire encounter.

“You wonder what was the goal behind that. Were they up to more than that?” the Hennings asked.

Records show that Munchel lived in Lee County for years before moving to Nashville. But Doc Ford’s says it was more than two years ago that he worked there.

Either way, the Hennings say, the storming of the U.S. Capitol was tragic. “It was a horrible event. and I don’t think anybody can justify anything that took place that day. That was terrible,” they said.

Munchel is currently being held at the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office in Tennessee. He’s facing two federal charges: violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.

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