- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Jonathan Gennaro Mellis, an alleged Capitol rioter among the latest facing related charges, boasted online about breaching the building afterward, the FBI said in a court filing unsealed Tuesday.

The criminal complaint alleges Mr. Mellis shared evidence showing him storming the Capitol and “proudly” taking responsibility amid rumors that Antifa and Black Lives Matter activists were to blame.

Facebook posts attributed to the user “Jon Gennaro” are included in the complaint, which is dated Thursday but was ordered to remain sealed until after the suspect had been taken into custody.

Among the Facebook posts is one containing photographs from in and around the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, when the building was breached by a violent mob upset over the results of the presidential race.

“Storming the Castle” the user captioned the images. “The world heard US!!! Finally not ignored.”

In other posts cited in the court filing, the Facebook user adamantly denied left-wing Antifa activists or members of Black Lives Matter were to blame for the breach as some alleged without proof.

“Don’t you dare try to tell me that people are blaming this on antifa and BLM. We proudly take responsibility for storming the castle,” the user posted.

“We are fighting for election integrity. They heard us,” the user said in the post.

The FBI said two people acquainted personally with Mr. Mellis provided his Facebook posts to federal investigators. Both said they knew him as “Jon” and that he posted frequently about the election.

In addition to the Facebook posts, the FBI said it identified other footage allegedly showing Mr. Mellis striking members of the U.S. Capitol Police with a stick while the complex was under siege.

Body camera footage allegedly captured Mr. Mellis “repeatedly striking and making stabbing movements towards the officers with the weapon in his hand,” an FBI agent said in the criminal complaint.

“MELLIS appears to be making at contact or attempting to strike the officers’ necks between their helmets and body-armor where they are not protected,” the FBI agent said in an affidavit.

“Based on your affiant’s training and experience, forceful strikes to the neck with (or without) the aid of a weapon to enhance impact is more than sufficient to cause serious physical injury or death,” they added.

The criminal complaint alleges Mr. Mellis violated federal laws against forcibly assaulting a police officer and aiding and abetting; civil disorder; trespassing on Capitol grounds; violent conduct on Capitol grounds; and obstruction of Congress. Public court filings did not list a defense lawyer who could be reached for comment or details about his arrest or future court dates.

More than 200 cases have been opened already involving people accused of crimes related to storming the Capitol, including multiple open supporter of former President Trump, who decisively lost the election, and known members of several right-wing groups and militias. The FBI is still trying to investigate multiple persons of interest.

While the complaint charging Mr. Mellis was filed in federal court on Feb. 11, Twitter user Molly Conger identified him as being an alleged participant in the Capitol Hill riot three weeks earlier.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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