An active-duty Marine Corps Major, who allegedly pushed a cop during the Capitol riot so thousands of fellow insurrections could enter the building, was among a fresh crop of alleged rioters to be hit with federal charges Thursday.
Christopher Warnagiris, a 40-year-old who has been stationed at the Marine Corps base in Quantico since last summer, has been hit with a slew of charges, including assaulting officers and obstruction of justice. He was arrested on Thursday in Virginia and is set to make a court appearance in the afternoon. He is one of dozens of current and former law enforcement officials charged in connection with the Jan. 6 riot.
Videos and photos showed Warnagiris—wearing a dark jacket with green zippers, a military green backpack, and gloves—trying to enter the Capitol through the East Rotunda doors with a slew of others. While Capitol Police officers attempted to hold the large crowd at bay, they eventually lost ground and a group of rioters managed to push the doors open, according to a criminal complaint. Warnagiris seemed to “use his body to keep the door partially open” to help others inside.
“As the struggle continued, several USCP officers repositioned themselves from the outside of the doorway to the inside and continued to try to stop the stream of individuals from entering the building,” the complaint states.
Warnagiris got into a struggle with one officer positioned between him and the growing crowd inside, even after the officer ordered “him to get out of the doorway.” When Warnagiris didn’t comply, the officer said Warnagiris tried to push him out of the way—and Warnagiris pushed back “in an effort to maintain his position in the open door.”
Federal authorities said they were first tipped off to Warnagiris’ identity on March 16, when a member of the public recognized him in a batch of photos the FBI released asking for help. The witness told authorities that Warnagiris “was an active duty Marine officer” and said they had worked with him for about six months in 2019.
The next day, after confirming Warnagiris was an active service member, FBI agents went to his military command and interviewed a co-worker. That person said they had worked with Warnagiris for about nine months.
According to a 2018 article on the Marines website, Warnagiris was an operations officer for the U.S. landing force command element LHD Tonnere, a French Navy amphibious assault ship, as it began a two-month deployment in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations.
Charges against three other alleged insurrectionists were also made public Thursday. Brittiany Angelina Dillon, who was arrested in D.C. on May 11; Hunter Palm, who was arrested in Denver, Colorado on May 12; and Michael Gareth Adams, who was arrested in Alexandria, Virginia on Apr. 22. In January, a relative of Palm’s wrote a letter to the FBI identifying him as one of the rioters, according to an affidavit signed by FBI Special Agent Matthew J. Hamel. The filing says Palm called the unnamed family member on Jan. 6 and said he had gotten inside the Capitol building, where he “eventually entered a conference room with a long table and several chairs where he sat to rest.”
In a follow-up interview with FBI agents, Palm admitted to being on the premises during the siege, the affidavit states. He handed over a flash drive with video from the day, which Palm confessed to having deleted from his cell phone, as well as the clothes he wore to the Capitol: a gray hoodie, jeans, an American flag hat, and a flag emblazoned with the words “TRUMP” and “Keep America Great.”The evidence Palm turned over doesn’t help his case. A criminal complaint states that, in one video, he can be seen approaching the Capitol building and shouting, “Stop the Steal!” In another, he walks inside and says, “We’re in the Capitol building.” Palm told agents that he was “pushed” inside. However, the affidavit says he can be seen walking freely into the Capitol, chanting, “Whose house? Our house!” He makes his way into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s conference room, as off-camera voices call out for her execution.
“You guys want a tour?” Palm asks the others, then sidles up to a laptop and says, “Who’s good at hacking? Who’s good at hacking?” After Palm sits down at the head of the conference room table, he puts his feet up and states, “I think I like my new dining room. I pay for it.”
Michael Gareth Adams—who brought his longboard to the riot and is the second skateboarder to face charges related to the events of Jan. 6—was also done in by footage of him breaching the Capitol. Members of the public provided “several” videos to investigators showing Adams entering restricted areas that day, an affidavit says.
After two associates of Adams’ said they couldn’t be sure it was him in the videos, Adams was ultimately identified by someone who said they were “100 percent sure” it was. If there was still any doubt, the FBI says it reviewed cell phone location data that placed Adams at the scene. He was released on bail following his arrest; the judge ordered him to stay away from D.C. except to meet with his lawyers or to attend court appearances.
Investigators homed in on Brittiany Angelina Dillon after searching another alleged rioter’s cell phone—and saw text messages between her and Bryan Betancur, who was arrested for storming the Capitol after a GPS ankle monitor he was wearing for a burglary conviction showed he was there.
“The DC Police have reached a new low...they shot someone near me. Please come home intact,” Dillon wrote to Betancur in one text, according to a criminal complaint.
In another message, Dillon wrote, “I was there. I got pepper sprayed at the door of the capital and tear gassed 3 times making my way up to it.” A third text Dillon sent reportedly stated, “I fought hard...I fell in the door and they tried to beat me with batons so I backed off and they pepper sprayed my eyes.”
Not only was Dillon seen on video recorded inside the Capitol that day, and placed at the scene by her cell phone and Gmail account, automatic license plate readers clocked her traveling from Maryland to D.C. and back again on the day of the riots.