A Bellmore man has been arrested in connection with the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol building, which left five dead, including a police officer, federal prosecutors said.
The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force arrested Justin McAuliffe, 39, on Thursday morning based on several FBI tips they received in the days following the riots, screenshots of social media posts and messages provided by witnesses, and a photo taken by a digital news source of a man they believe is McAuliffe inside a Congressmember’s office in the Capitol building.
“McAuliffe and another individual appear to be in a member of Congress’s office along with a Trump flag,” authorities alleged in court documents. “McAuliffe, who is on the right side of the photograph, has a smartphone in his hand.”
Authorities found a cropped version of the photo in a profile photo for McAuliffe’s account on Telegram, a messaging app, court documents said.
A witness, who said they have known McAuliffe for five years, also provided screenshots of photos of McAuliffe outside the Capitol building, which he allegedly posted to Facebook before he deleted his account after the riots on Jan. 6. Authorities were able to link the accounts to McAuliffe through his phone number, which they received from the witness, court documents said.
A second witness provided screenshots of a conversation with McAuliffe, in which he allegedly wrote, “yeah I was in one of the offices. Some people were smoking a joint in the room, lol. Cops came in and weee like. Okay guys really? They didn’t even ask us to leave right away. They let us sit down and hang out and relax.”
According to the documents, McAuliffe is charged with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful permission and engaging in disorderly conduct with intent to impede or disrupt government business or official functions.
McAuliffe will be arraigned Thursday afternoon in Central Islip Federal Court via video conference. His attorney information was not immediately available.