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Five charged as FBI says Central Florida Three Percenters took part Capitol attack

Brian Michael Preller, of Mount Dora, had a helmet, goggles, a tactical vest with a chemical irritant spray attached to the front and a long black walking stick when he joined the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, according to the FBI. Preller is one of five Floridians charged this week in a Capitol breach case. Photos: FBI from open-sources videos and images


The Justice Department says five Florida men were arrested Wednesday in connection with the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

An FBI affidavit says they were members of the Three Percenters militia group.

Four of the five are charged with a felony. They’re accused of interfering with law enforcement officers during a civil disorder.

They are 38-year-old Benjamin Cole of Leesburg, 50-year-old John Edward Crowley of Windermere, 33-year-old Brian Preller of Mount Dora and 38-year-old Jonathan Rockholt of Palm Coast.

According to a Justice Department news release, the four men charged with a felony “added their force, momentum, bodies, and efforts to the other rioters in a ‘heave-ho’ effort that put pressure on the police line” inside the tunnel area of the Capitol’s Lower West Terrace.

All five wore tactical vests, according to the release. And among them they carried various gear, including sticks, a knife, a gas mask, goggles and a chemical irritant spray.

The affidavit says the FBI is investigating their sub-group within the Three Percenters, the so-called B Squad of the Guardians of Freedom.

Federal prosecutors have charged more than 860 people for the Capitol breach. That includes at least 83 arrested in Florida.

 


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Joe Byrnes

About Joe Byrnes

Reporter

Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.

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