Ex-firefighter Robert Sanford charged in Capitol riot, threw fire extinguisher at cops, feds say

US News

A general view of the Lehigh County Jail, where retired fireman Robert Sanford was due to appear in connection with the U.S. Capitol riots, before a federal judge, in Allentown, Pennsylvania, January 14, 2021.

Mark Makela | Reuters

A retired Pennsylvania firefighter was arrested and charged Thursday with crimes related to the Jan.6 Capitol riot, where he allegedly hurled a fire extinguisher that struck three Capitol police officers in their heads.

Robert Sanford, 55, was identified by a friend as the man on a widely seen video tossing the extinguisher into a group of police surrounded by a wild mob President Donald Trump’s supporters in front of the Capitol, authorities said.

The cops hit in the head did not include Officer Brian Sicknick, the cop who died after a day after being beaten by rioters.

The friend told the FBI on Tuesday that Sanford, who recently retired from the Chester Fire Department, informed him that he was being sought as the assailant on the video, according to a document released by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington.

Sanford also had told his friend that he had travelled to Washington, D.C., with a group of people on a bus to attend a rally Jan. 6 on the Ellipse, where President Donald Trump spoke and urged supporters to help him in his efforts to reverse Joe Biden’s presidential election victory, the document said.

The group, including Sanford, “then had followed the President’s instructions and gone to the Capitol,” the document said.

At the time, Congress was holding a joint session to confirm Biden’s election as president.

Sanford, who lives in Boothwyn, Pennsylvania, is charged with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, disorderly or disruptive conduct on capitol grounds, civil disorder, and assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers while engaged in the performance of official duties.

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