Three active-duty U.S. Marines have been arrested for their involvement in the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol building.
The three men — Cpl. Micah Coomer and Sgts. Joshua Abate and Dodge Dale Hellonen — were ardent loyalists to then-President Donald Trump. Surveillance footage of the attack shows the three men together, adorned in MAGA (“Make America Great Again,” Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign slogan) gear.
At one point, the three men placed one of their red MAGA hats on a statue inside the building, likely after members of Congress were evacuated due to the escalating violence.
The Marines each face multiple charges, including for disorderly conduct within the Capitol.
Maj. Kevin Stephensen, a spokesman for the Marine Corps, told news outlets that officials are aware of the allegations against the three active-duty Marines, and are “fully cooperating with appropriate authorities in support of the investigation.”
In the days and months after the attack, the Marines made numerous references to witnessing and taking part in the Capitol breach. Abate, for example, admitted during an interview for a security clearance that he was in the Capitol on January 6, saying that he didn’t talk about it because the attack had been “portrayed negatively” by the media.
Coomer was more open about his involvement in the breach, posting pictures of himself inside the Capitol on his Instagram account. Upon further inquiry into his social media interactions, the Department of Justice (DOJ) discovered that he was hoping that the attack would ignite a second civil war.
“Everything in this country is corrupt,” Coomer said to another Instagram user. “We honestly need a fresh restart. I’m waiting for the boogaloo.”
When asked what he meant by that term, which refers to a far right anti-government movement, Coomer responded, “Civil war 2.”
Two years after the Capitol attack, the investigation into the breach is ongoing. At least 978 individuals have been arrested and charged with crimes relating to the day’s events, according to a database compiled by Business Insider. Coomer, Abate and Hellonen were not included in that publication’s analysis.
Several individuals with ties to the military, mostly retired veterans but also some active-duty members, have been charged or arrested for their involvement in the attack. Many took part in direct violence against security personnel charged with keeping order in the building — for example, Robert Morss, an Army veteran, directed members of the mob to build a “shield wall” to counteract the Capitol Police’s efforts to block them from entering the building, encouraging them to use shields they had brought as weapons.
Dozens of members of the Oath Keepers, a far right group comprised of current and former government, military and law enforcement officials, also participated in the Capitol attack. At least 12 members of that group, some of whom led the initial charge into the building, were charged with seditious conspiracy. The group’s leader, Stewart Rhodes, was convicted of seditious conspiracy in late November.