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Kenneth Harrelson, of Titusville, was arrested by the FBI on Wednesday. During a court appearance Thursday afternoon, a judge ordered that he remain in custody until at least Monday, at which time another hearing will be held.
A former Army Sergeant, Kenny Harrelson joined the Oath Keepers in 2017. He spent five years in the service but wasn’t deployed after injuring his back and shoulder in training accidents.
“You do spend the rest of your life looking for that camaraderie,” Harrelson said of his military experience. “When I found Oath Keepers, I fell headfirst in it, helping train the civilians in the group. Makes me feel like I’m back in it.”
Harrelson is facing charges of
- obstruction of an official proceeding
- destruction of government property
- entering restricted grounds.
Pictures in the affidavit show Harrelson wearing a camouflage hat near a group that entered the grounds in a military-style stack formation. Records show he interacted with them as they went by. He was also seen milling about the rotunda with his phone hoisted up as if taking photos or videos, according to the report.
FBI agents claim they uncovered messages and recorded transmissions from Oath Keepers affiliated with Harrelson that stated, “You are executing citizen’s arrest. Arrest this assembly, we have probable cause for acts of treason, election fraud,” along with “All members are in the tunnels under capital (sic) seal them in. Turn on gas,” and “We stormed and got inside.”
While those messages were sent on Jan. 6, records show Harrelson and other members began planning their response in Sept. 30, 2020, when they took part in a Go To Meeting titled “dc planning call.” Harrelson is accused of attending or organizing 30 of those meetings prior to the riot. His usernames included “gator 6,” “hotel 26″ and “kenneth harrelson.”
Oath Keepers is one of numerous vigilante groups that have flocked to cities where police killings and protests have sometimes been followed by property damage and violence. Its members travel from across the country equipped with long guns and protective gear to stand in plain view of demonstrators or loom over them from the edges of rooftops, unauthorized — and frequently unquestioned — by law enforcement.
On Jan. 6, a mob of former President Donald Trump’s supporters pushed past police and entered the Capitol building as lawmakers were preparing to certify Joe Biden’s presidential win. Five people died during the violence: Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick and four demonstrators.