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Columbia man suspected of livestreaming insurrection wearing ‘Proud Boys’ hat turns himself in, FBI says

A Columbia man who livestreamed inside the U.S. Capitol while wearing a “Proud Boys” hat on Jan. 6 turned himself in to authorities Tuesday morning, according to the FBI and court documents.

Andrew Ryan Bennett will face charges related to entering the building, said Joy Jiras, a spokeswoman for the Baltimore field office of the FBI. Court records did not reflect whether he had made an initial appearance, and his attorney could not immediately be reached for comment.

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The FBI said in court documents that it received a tip at 9 p.m. the night of the riot, saying that Bennett had earlier been live-streaming on Facebook from inside the Capitol.

Agents recovered the videos; in one, Bennett yells “no destruction!” when someone is kicking a door inside the Capitol. But they say he is believed to later be chanting “Break it down!” “in relation to a door located in the Speaker’s Lobby that was barricaded by [Capitol police] where a woman was later shot.” A gunshot can be heard on the video.

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Ashli Babbitt, a 35-year-old Air Force veteran who formerly lived in Annapolis and had become consumed with far-right conspiracy theories, was fatally shot by an officer as she tried to climb through the broken window of a barricaded doorway inside the Capitol.

Two days before the riot, Bennett wrote on Facebook: “You better be ready chaos is coming and I will be in DC on 1/6/2021 fighting for my freedom!” and a #STOPTHESTEAL hashtag.

The FBI obtained a search warrant for Bennett’s residence and on Jan. 11 found the “Proud Boys” hat he was wearing in the video.

“During the execution of the search warrant, agents interviewed Bennett and he stated that he had traveled alone to Washington, D.C. on January 6, 2021, arriving around 6:00am and later entered into the U.S. Capitol building with a crowd. Bennett told agents that he knew it was wrong to do so,” the FBI wrote in court records.

Bennett is the second Howard County resident to be arrested this week. On Monday, agents arrested Matthew Ryan Miller, 22, of Cooksville, saying he was identified in images as one of the people using a fire extinguisher on police officers trying to keep people from entering the Capitol.

Miller was ordered detained. Most people who have been charged with storming the grounds have been released on orders to stay away from Washington.

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