The FBI took a 22-year-old Howard County man into custody Monday morning after he was identified in images as one of the people using a fire extinguisher on police officers trying to keep people from entering the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, federal authorities said.
Matthew Ryan Miller, of Cooksville, was one of the few people, out of of dozens arrested during the insurrection, to be ordered detained pending trial. D.C. Magistrate Judge Zia M. Faruqui said during Miller’s initial appearance Monday evening that his alleged actions were “quite severe and quite concerning.”
“This was an attempt to disrupt the lawful progression of our democracy,” said Faruqui, noting that he didn’t know any conditions of release that could convince him that Miller didn’t still harbor anti-government or anti-law enforcement views.
Miller’s attorney, Eduardo Balarezo, told Faruqui that there was no evidence presented in the complaint to show why Miller was at the event or what his intentions were. He also noted there was no evidence that Miller entered the Capitol building.
Against his attorney’s advice, Miller tried to plead his own case that he was not dangerous. He said he had lost his job over his involvement at the Capitol, but said he was in the process of obtaining an insurance license for another job he had lined up. He also said he helps take care of an elderly relative.
“I would not, I don’t think, have any time to go out and cause harm to my community,” Miller said.
Federal authorities unsealed a criminal complaint showing how he was identified through photos and social media posts. Miller could be seen wearing a Washington Capitals jersey and a cowboy hat, with a Maryland flag and a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag draped over his shoulders. In another video, the FBI said, Miller is depicted using an overturned gate to scale the Capitol walls and help others do the same.
The FBI said that someone who had known Miller for seven years helped identify him in the photos.
Miller previously had been identified publicly for his role in the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol by a Twitter user, who matched a photo from his Facebook page, which includes the caption “Patriotic American Cowboys,” to photos of him among the crowd.
He is charged with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted buildings or grounds without lawful authority, and doing so with a dangerous weapon; knowingly engaging in disorderly or disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds with a dangerous weapon; and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol Grounds.