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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Nampa man becomes 7th Idahoan charged for alleged involvement in 2021 Capitol riot

By Alex Brizee Idaho Statesman

BOISE – Nearly three years ago, thousands of people stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, to try to interfere with the certification of the 2020 presidential Election.

Prosecutors have charged more than 1,000 people throughout the country with crimes related to that day’s events, including six Idahoans. Now the U.S. Attorney’s Office has announced the arrest of another man with ties to the Gem State.

The FBI arrested 54-year-old Theo Hanson on Thursday in Nampa, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Hanson, now an Idaho resident, lived in San Diego when the alleged crimes were committed, the news release said.

Hanson was arrested on suspicion of felony obstruction of an official proceeding and felony civil disorder, according to the release. He also faces three misdemeanors: knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds, disorderly conduct in a restricted area, and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.

It’s unclear why Hanson wasn’t arrested until now.

In 2021, authorities charged six Idaho residents in the Capitol riot, and all but one of the defendants – Sandpoint resident Michael Pope – has been sentenced. Idaho Falls resident Tyler Tew was the only one placed on probation; the other four were sentenced to at least some time in jail or prison, ranging from a few months to over four years.

Records obtained by the FBI showed that Hanson was a part of a Telegram group chat called the “The California Patriots-DC Brigade,” which communicated about gathering fighters to travel to Washington, D.C., for the certification of President Joe Biden’s election victory over Donald Trump.

The group was led by Russell Taylor, who was arrested alongside four other men who identified as Three Percenters, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a previous news release.

Three Percenters hold a belief that only 3% of American colonists fought against the British during the American Revolution, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks U.S. hate groups. They are typically members of the far-right, anti-government militia movement.

Taylor pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with the government and “take full responsibility” for his actions, NBC News reported.

In a Telegram message, which was included in the court records, Taylor asked Hanson whether he was “bringing heat” to the Capitol, and if so, said Hanson just “went up many clicks in (his) book.”

“Yeah, brother,” Hanson responded. “I am bringing a few compacts and an AR dragon. I look at them as peacekeepers and of a ‘last resort’ of sorts. Once they come out, that genie doesn’t go back in the bottle.

“Where each bullet lands is my fault and mine alone,” he added on Telegram, court records said.

Hanson was seen on video inside the U.S. Capitol Building, according to a statement of facts provided to reporters by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He was identified on CCTV footage “illegally entering” the Capitol at around 2:22 p.m., and footage showed that he stayed inside until 3:33 p.m., the release said.

Authorities said Hanson helped other rioters on several occasions gain access to additional areas of the building. At about 2:30 p.m., while officers tried to close security doors, Hanson is seen on the CCTV footage standing underneath one of the doors, prosecutors said. In CCTV footage, Hanson was seen waving his hands back and forth to prevent it from closing, the statement said. Authorities said other rioters used trash cans and chairs to block the doors.

“Hanson repeatedly obstructed efforts by law enforcement to close the doors, which would have prevented rioters from further accessing the building,” the news release said.

Hanson was also seen on CCTV footage at 2:44 p.m. and 3:09 p.m. pushing doors open to allow additional rioters inside the building, the statement said. He also blocked an officer’s attempt to move him out of the building, the statement added.