WASHINGTON – A man arrested near former President Barack Obama's Washington home on charges in the U.S. Capitol riot had two guns, 400 rounds of ammunition as well as a machete in his van, a federal prosecutor said Friday.
Taylor Taranto, 37, was arrested Thursday after being spotted a few blocks from the former president’s home and chased by U.S. Secret Service agents. Court documents unsealed Friday show Taranto is charged with four misdemeanors related to the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack, including disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds.
The Justice Department, during a hearing in Washington's federal court, disclosed the details about the weapons found in the van that the man appeared to be living in, NBC News reported. Taranto was ordered to remain behind bars pending a detention hearing scheduled for next Wednesday.
An email seeking comment was sent to Taranto's attorney on Friday.
It was not clear whether the Obamas were at their home at the time of his arrest. The explosives team swept Taranto’s van and said there were no threats to the public. No one was injured.
Taranto was a U.S. Navy veteran and a webmaster for the Republican Party in Franklin County, in Washington state, according to the Tri-City Herald newspaper. He told the newspaper in an interview last year that he was volunteering for the Republican Party.
After attending then-President Donald Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally on Jan. 6, Taranto joined rioters on the Upper West Terrace, where he picked up and threw pieces of metal scaffolding, according to court papers.
Taranto entered the Capitol building and was near another rioter, Ashli Babbitt, when a police officer shot and killed her as she climbed through a glass window leading to the House chambers, the FBI said in a court filing. Before he left the building, Taranto and other rioters scuffled with police officers, the filing says.
On a Facebook account authorities say appears to be run by Taranto and his wife, Taranto posted a video in which he proclaimed to be inside the Capitol with the caption: “This is me ‘stormin’ the capitol' lol I'm only sharing this so someone will report me to the feds and we can get this party rolling!”
Taranto showed up in court this month for the sentencing hearing of another man who was convicted in the riot, authorities said. He was also interviewed for a video posted online this month in which he identified himself in footage during the riot, saying “That's me screaming.”
More than 1,000 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the Capitol riot. Over 600 of them have pleaded guilty, while approximately 100 others have been convicted after trials decided by judges or juries. More than 550 riot defendants have been sentenced, with over half receiving terms of imprisonment ranging from six days to 18 years.