A Crawford County man called U.S. Capitol Police officers “cowards” and threatened to “go at” them before storming the building with others during the Jan. 6 riots in Washington, D.C., federal authorities said Friday.
Jeremy Vorous, 43, of Meadville, is charged with knowingly entering a restricting building without authority, violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds and obstructing an official proceeding.
Authorities said Vorous posted a number of photos of himself inside the Capitol building to his Facebook page, bragging in one, “Yeah we in dis (expletive),” according to criminal complaint against him.
One photo is alleged to show Vorous wearing a black shirt with white lettering, standing in front of a statue of John Caldwell Calhoun, a South Carolina senator and seventh Vice President of the United States who defended slavery and the idea of states’ rights.
Federal authorities noted that that particular statue is located in the Crypt of the Capitol. Vorous’s shirt reads, “Not today liberal.” Vorous’s caption read, “We will take what we want.”
Yet another Facebook post from Jan. 6 shows a crowd pressed against a set of doors at the Capitol with the caption, “Bout to rush in again diff door.”
Vorous told FBI agents who interviewed him in late January that he had been at and in the Capitol on Jan. 6 but said “he did not go to commit violence,” according to the complaint.
He said he followed others into the building and claimed a door was propped. He said he didn’t know anyone inside was perpetrating violence or destruction and he “would never have entered if he believed he was trespassing,” according to the complaint.
Vorous also alleged he asked a police officer to take a selfie with him inside the Capitol but the officer instead took his photo for him, according to the complaint. He said he spoke to several other officers, none of whom told him he should be there.
Authorities said video footage from inside the Capitol appears to show Vorous leaving the building saying “words to the effect of, ‘we’ve been in there, ain’t nothing going on,’” according to the complaint.
Other footage showed Vorous arguing with police on Capitol grounds, according to the complaint. One showed Vorous yelling at officers holding a barricade, which authorities said seems to have ended with Vorous being pepper sprayed.
In footage from a few minutes later, authorities said Vorous can be heard calling officers “cowards” and other obscenities, according to the complaint. They noted he also told police they were “preventing (him) from getting into my house.”
Authorities said that in a video posted to YouTube, Vorous yells, “I will be here until we drag these (expletives) out.”
Vorous called the FBI’s National Threat Operations Center on Jan. 10 and reported he’d been in the Capitol Building but “absolutely did not participate in rioting or take anything,” according to the complaint.
Two days earlier, he appeared in the Erie Times-News after he was contacted by the outlet about his alleged participation in the riots. He told the journalist who contacted him he wasn’t sure if he had anything to say, according to the story.
“I’m also under investigation by the FBI,” he told the outlet, and he joked that he might leave the country. “Peru is nice,” he said.
Federal authorities referenced the newspaper’s story in the complaint against Vorous.
Vorous appeared via video Friday morning in front of Magistrate Judge Richard A. Lanzillo, at which time he was released on bond. A hearing is scheduled for April 1.
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