He literally had Ashli Babbitt’s blood on his hands. But that wasn’t what made it simple for the FBI to find and arrest Mercer County’s Thomas Baranyi for his role in last week’s attack on the U.S. Capitol building.
Baranyi, a 28-year-old Peace Corps volunteer from Ewing who ended up in a viral video showing a reporter his bloody hand, was charged by the FBI Tuesday with disorderly conduct and being in a restricted building.
Following a video-conferenced hearing in Newark, U.S. District Judge Cathy Waldor released the former wannabe U.S. Marine on a $100,000 unsecured bond and prohibited him from entering any government buildings except for court.
She then moved the case to the district for federal prosecutors to handle along with dozens -- and possibly hundreds -- of others involving the rampage.
Baranyi made it easy for the FBI to find him, not only giving a WUSA9 reporter an interview outside the Capitol building but also his name and state.
An agent then matched the video against his driver’s license photo.
WATCH THE VIDEO HERE: Thomas Baranyi Interview With Reporter
An affidavit sworn out by FBI Special Agent Cassidy Vreeland quotes Baranyi telling the reporter that he entered the building on the side “with the scaffolding.”
It goes on to quote the former College of New Jersey student as saying:
“[W]e tore through the scaffolding, through flash bangs and tear gas, and blitzed our way through all the chambers just trying to get into Congress or whoever we could get in to and tell them that we need some kind of investigation into this.
“It was a joke to them until we got inside and then guns came out, but we’re at a point now, it can’t be allowed to stand. We have to do something. People have to do something.”
Baranyi told the reporter that he was with Babbitt, a 35-year-old Air Force veteran from California, who was shot and killed by a member of the Capitol police force as she tried to climb through a smashed window next to a barricaded door in the building.
“There was a young lady who rushed through the windows,” he said. “A number of police and Secret Service were saying, ‘Get down, get out of the way.’
“She didn’t heed the call and as we kind of raced up to try to grab people and pull them back. [T]hey shot her in the neck, and she fell back on me.
“She started to say, she was fine, it’s cool, and then she started kind of like, moving weird, and blood was coming out of her mouth and neck and nose, and I don’t know if she’s alive or dead anymore.”
Baranyi is seen in another video trying to move Babbitt immediately after the shooting.
“[I]t could have been me,” the U.S. District Court filing quotes him as saying, “but she went in first. It was one of us.”
The FBI charged Baranyi with “knowingly and willfully” joining a crowd of individuals who “forcibly entered the U.S. Capitol and impeded, disrupted, and disturbed the orderly conduct of business by the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate.”
Vreeland noted that Baranyi was seen in other video and still images before, during and after the shooting in the same New York Giants hoodie and carrying the same backpack as in the TV interview.
Baranyi is among 70 people charged by federal authorities in connection with the rampage, which left five people dead – among them, Brian Sicknick, a Capitol police officer who grew up in New Jersey.
Although many initial charges involved misdemeanors, Baranyi and several other defendants could face extremely more serious charges – among them, assault on law enforcement officers, theft of national security information and even sedition, Acting U.S. Attorney Michael Sherwin for the District of Columbia said.
ALSO SEE: Federal charges filed against 70 or so people identified as participating in the seizing of the U.S. Capitol building by a violent mob last week apparently are only the beginning, the country's top law enforcement official warned.
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