Police fire tear gas into a crowd of pro-Trump protesters during clashes at a rally to challenge the certification of the results of the 2020 US presidential election by the US Congress at the US Capitol building in Washington, January 6, 2021.
Shannon Stapleton | Reuters
WASHINGTON – A Trump supporter who stormed the Capitol wearing a “Make the Universe Great Again” hat had two guns and 400 rounds of ammunition in his van when he was arrested near former President Barack Obama’s home Thursday, federal authorities said Friday.
A federal prosecutor said in court Friday Taylor TarantoThe 37-year-old was first identified by online detectives in August 2021, also had a machete in the van he appeared to live in. Tarant’s van has been parked near the D.C. jail in recent weeks and he appeared at protests in support of other defendants on Jan. 6, videos on social media show. Noting that he lived in a van, the federal prosecutor said Taranto “had nowhere to go.”
Taranto is currently facing four misdemeanor charges in connection with Jan. 6a federal prosecutor said.
Prosecutors say Taranto was in Washington to marry House Speaker Kevin McCarthy offer had the defendants review the January 6 security footage of the Capitol riots relevant to their cases. Taranto posted on his social networks recordings of the phone calls he made in an attempt to gain access to the footage.
In social media posts, Taranto admitted to entering the Capitol on Jan. 6 and questioned why authorities did not arrest him. His lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Taranto appeared at the Obama residence on Thursday after former President Donald Trump posted screenshots on his Truth Social platform that purported to include the address of the Obama home in Washington. Taranta’s account reposted Trump’s post.
“We have these losers surrounded!” Taranto wrote on Telegram yesterday. “See you in hell, Podesta and Obama!”
Taranto will be held in custody until at least Wednesday’s detention hearing. Federal Judge G. Michael Harvey said Friday that he had “some concerns” about Tarant’s mental stability.
Taranto was identified by members of the Sedition Hunters community after a face search he appeared photos of him posing with a cardboard cutout of Trump at district GOP events in his home state of Washington.
The widow of a Metropolitan Police officer who died by suicide on January 6 after defending the Capitol has filed a lawsuit against Taranto and another man. David Walls-Kaufman, claims they played a role in his death. Both men have denied involvement in the death of Officer Jeffrey Smith. Smith’s body camera footage shows he was also hit by a flying metal object later that evening, hours after he was part of a scuffle involving Walls-Kaufman and Taranto.
NBC News spotted Taranto at the Walls-Kaufman sentencing earlier this month, where he confirmed his full name to court security officials who spoke with him after he used his cell phone 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 participants on January 6 who were identified by online detectives but he was not charged.