A former Army captain and Iraq War veteran was arrested Tuesday in South Florida for his alleged role in the Capitol riot after he was identified by the FBI using Facebook Live videos he made inside the building during the breach.
Gabriel A. Garcia, who left the Army in 2017, broadcast himself and others pushing against police lines to gain entrance to the Capitol building Jan. 6.
At one point, Garcia was heard on video calling police “fucking traitors” and warning officers that they “ain’t gonna hold a million back today,” according to a federal criminal complaint.
Garcia, who was also a 2020 candidate for the Florida State House, was charged with violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, as well as aiding and abetting certain acts during civil disorder.
Miami-based attorney Aubrey Q. Webb, who is representing Garcia, said his client was released on bail Thursday and his case will be transferred to the D.C. District Court for arraignment.
“I don’t want to speak about the charges,” Webb told Army Times. “However, I will say that Mr. Garcia is entitled to full due process of law under the Constitution, regardless of political beliefs.”
Garcia joined the Army in 2002 and served in the active component, the National Guard and the Army Reserve, according to a military spokesman. He deployed once to Iraq from August 2009 to July 2010.
In the Facebook Live videos made inside the Capitol, Garcia turned the camera to show his face several times, according to the complaint.
He was also recorded on CCTV footage inside the building, the complaint noted. A screenshot from that footage shows Garcia holding his phone and wearing a red “Make America Great Again” hat.
“We just went ahead and stormed the Capitol. It’s about to get ugly,” Garcia says in one of the videos, according to the complaint. Around him, the crowd chants, “Our house!”
Inside the Capitol rotunda, Garcia is heard saying “Nancy come out and play,” a reference to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
At the end of one video, Garcia turns the camera on himself and says, “Free Enrique.” This was an apparent reference to Enrique Tarrio, the Miami-based leader of the right-wing group Proud Boys who was arrested in D.C. days before the riot on charges that he destroyed a local church’s Black Lives Matter sign.
While working to confirm Garcia’s identity, a separate person tagged Garcia in a post and called the former Army officer “El Capitan.” The caption for that post reads, “El Capitan doing his duty.”
Garcia also used the handle “Captain” as a display name for his account on the social media platform Telegram, which the complaint said was linked to Garcia’s cellular telephone number.
Garcia joins a growing list of U.S. military veterans, and some currently serving troops, who have been publicly identified in the wake of the riot.
One Army Reserve sergeant from New Jersey and one Army Guardsman from Virginia were arrested for their alleged participation in breaching the Capitol.
An active-duty Army officer from North Carolina is also being investigated after she brought 100 people to Washington for the Trump rally there, though attending the peaceful protest that preceded the riot isn’t against military regulations.
More veterans, and potentially service members, could be identified and charged in the coming days and weeks. Department of Justice officials have said they’re still sifting through video footage and witness accounts that have not been made public.
Kyle Rempfer was an editor and reporter who has covered combat operations, criminal cases, foreign military assistance and training accidents. Before entering journalism, Kyle served in U.S. Air Force Special Tactics and deployed in 2014 to Paktika Province, Afghanistan, and Baghdad, Iraq.