Retired New York City firefighter charged in connection with US Capitol riot
Posted January 18, 2021 6:27 p.m. EST
CNN — A retired New York City Fire Department member is facing federal charges for allegedly participating in the deadly riot at the US Capitol earlier this month.
Thomas Fee has been charged with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, according to a criminal complaint filed Saturday.
Frank Dwyer, a spokesman for the FDNY, confirmed to CNN that Fee had been with the department for 22 years and retired in October.
An unnamed witness, who is described as a special agent with the US Diplomatic Security Service in a court filing, reported to the federal government's Joint Terrorism Task Force that their spouse saw a posting by Fee's girlfriend on Facebook stating that he was "at the rally," the complaint said.
According to the filing, the unnamed witness texted Fee, asking if he was at the rally, and Fee allegedly said that he was and then sent a photo of himself from inside the Capitol rotunda. The witness initially deleted the photo but was able to recover it, according to the complaint.
The complaint also describes a video Fee allegedly sent to a witness that shows numerous people inside the Capitol rotunda "who do not appear to have authorization to be present," yelling the words "tyranny" and "Pelosi."
Fee allegedly texted the witness that he was "at the tip of the spear," after sending the video, according to the complaint.
Fee has not yet been arrested, according to federal prosecutors in New York. CNN has reached out to Fee for comment.
The charge adds to a growing list of charges brought against participants in the riot earlier this month, which left five people dead and set off a firestorm in the nation's capital. Prosecutors in Washington, DC, have already charged about 100 people related to the riot, and there are more than 275 open investigations into potential criminal activity on that day, acting US Attorney Michael Sherwin said on Friday.
Dwyer said in a statement to CNN that the FDNY has been cooperating with law enforcement investigations into allegations of possible active or retired members' involvement with the riot.
"The Department received anonymous allegations that active or retired members were present at the events at the United States Capitol on January 6 and, as required, has provided that information to the FBI," Dwyer said in the statement.
FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said in a separate statement last week that while his department "respects the right of all members to take and personally support social and political positions," that members "must act with the utmost discretion and respect for others," and ensure that they are in compliance with laws.
"Department members, whether active or retired, must not engage in conduct that tends to bring the Department into disrepute, or is disruptive to the discipline and good order of the Department," the statement read.