These 5 Long Islanders Were Arrested for Their Alleged Roles in Capitol Riots a Year Ago

capitol riot
A mob of supporters of former U.S. President Donald Trump fight with members of law enforcement at a door they broke open as they storm the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, U.S., January 6, 2021. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo/File Photo

Jan. 6, 2022 marks the one-year anniversary of insurrectionists storming the Capitol building in a riot that left five dead, including a police officer.

Among the 725 people nationwide who have been charged, to date, in connection with the assault on American democracy are five Long Islanders: Thomas Fee, of Freeport; Christopher Ortiz, of Huntington; Justin McAuliffe, of Bellmore; Greg Rubenacker, of Farmingdale; and Greenport native Christopher John Worrell.

Fee, a retired member of the New York Fire Department, surrendered to authorities two weeks after the riots. He was 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, which is still in the pretrial phase.

freeport man
Investigators cited this selfie of Thomas Fee of Freeport in charging him with storming the U.S. Capitol. (U.S. Department of Justice photo)


A week later, Ortiz was arrested and faced similar charges, plus uttering loud, threatening, or abusive language in any of the Capitol buildings with the intent to impede, disrupt, or disturb a session of Congress or either House of Congress, and parading, demonstrating, or picketing in any of the Capitol buildings.

A video found on Instagram led to Ortiz’s arrest. His case is in the pretrial phase.

By the end of January 2021, McAuliffe was the third Long Islander to be arrested for alleged participation in the riots. FBI tips, which included photo evidence and screenshots of messages on social media, led to his arrest.

In November 2021, McAuliffe entered a plea deal. His sentencing is set for Jan. 28.

bellmore man capitol riot
Federal court documents claim the man on the right is Justin McAuliffe, of Bellmore, inside the Capitol building office of a Congressmember. The photo was obtained by a digital news source.

Rubenacker was indicted in November 2021 on 10 counts, including acts of physical violence on restricted grounds. Photo evidence allegedly showed him smoking a marijuana cigarette inside the Capitol building.

Later that month, he pleaded not guilty to additional charges and is currently out on bail awaiting trial.

farmingdale man
Court documents allege that a Snapchat video of Greg Rubenacker shows him smoking a vaping device and marijuana cigarette in the Capitol building.

Worrell, a Florida resident who graduated from Greenport High School on Long Island, was indicted on six counts in December 2021. The charges included allegedly spraying pepper spray gel at Capitol officers.

He is currently on home detention awaiting trial.

capitol riots
This image, included in federal investigators’ criminal complaint, shows Worrell allegedly spraying pepper spray gel at Capitol officers.

Sign up for Long Island Press’ email newsletters here. Sign up for home delivery of Long Island Press here. Sign up for discounts by becoming a Long Island Press community partner here.