A Freeport man who allegedly joined President Donald Trump supporters in storming the U.S. Capitol during a deadly riot two weeks ago surrendered to authorities on Tuesday.
Thomas Fee appeared virtually for his initial appearance before Magistrate Judge Steven Tiscione with defense attorney Dennis Ring at Central Islip federal court. He was released on $100,000 bond.
The retired member of the New York Fire Department is charged with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority and violent entry and disorderly conduct on capitol grounds. Investigators cited interviews with witnesses, travel records, text messages, and videos posted on social media as evidence in the case.
He was at “the tip of the spear,” Fee texted a witness from inside the Capitol on Jan. 6, authorities allege in court documents.
Fee was among thousands who stormed the Capitol in an attempt to block Congress from certifying Democrat Biden’s victory over Republican President Donald Trump, according to charging documents.
Federal authorities have brought criminal charges against more than 100 people so far in connection with the riot, in which Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol, ransacked offices and attacked police. Investigators are scouring more than 140,000 videos and photos from the siege in which five people died, including a police officer.
Law enforcement officials have been bracing for further violence. More than a dozen states activated National Guard troops following an FBI warning of armed demonstrations by right-wing extremists. But by late Sunday afternoon, only handfuls of demonstrators had taken to the streets. Attorney information for Fee was not immediately available.
The FDNY said Fee retired in October after 22 years with the department. Department leaders had received anonymous allegations that active or retired members were present at the events at the U.S. Capitol and, as required, has provided that information to the FBI, officials said.
-With Reuters and Briana Bonfiglio