A former Green Beret wearing a tactical vest struck an officer in the face with a flagpole he was wielding like a spear during the Capitol riot, according to new court filings from the government and the F.B.I.
Jeffrey McKellop, who was arrested on Wednesday and accused of shoving, pushing or violently striking several officers, is the first known Capitol rioter to have served in the elite Special Operations division of the military. During the Jan. 6 riot, he carried a flagpole with at least two types of flags: a “thin blue line” flag, which is generally used to signal support for the police, and a 13-star Betsy Ross flag with the words “Trump. Keep America Great” printed on it, the F.B.I. said.
“The defendant assaulted multiple sworn officers protecting the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, with the apparent intent to facilitate the breach that imperiled not only the lives of public servants but the heart of this nation’s democracy,” prosecutors said in a detention memo filed on Friday. “Notably, the defendant came prepared for battle.”
As he stormed the Capitol, they wrote, Mr. McKellop wore a helmet, goggles and a gas mask. In a series of assaults against law enforcement, he pushed three officers by swinging his arms downward, tried to grab a can of riot-control spray from one of the officers in a lieutenant’s uniform, and threw a bottle at a line of police officers.
Additionally, he picked up a flagpole from the ground and struck an officer in the face, sending the officer reeling backward and causing a laceration to his face.
In searches of a Gainesville, Va., home and a Fishersville, Va., residence where officers spotted Mr. McKellop shortly before his arrest, law enforcement recovered multiple firearms and a flash-bang device, the government said. They also found a backpack with a Special Forces pin that matched the backpack they said Mr. McKellop wore during the Capitol riot.
In a search of a vehicle registered to Mr. McKellop, they identified a “go bag” with meal bars, water-purification equipment, clothing and a firearm, among other items.
“He perpetrated these assaults on uniformed officers,” prosecutors wrote. “He committed multiple assaults on different officers over the course of several minutes. His conduct, especially in the context of the attack on the Capitol, evinces an intent to target law enforcement officers for harm and to disrupt the legitimate functioning of government.”
Prosecutors argued that Mr. McKellop’s military training and service, along with his employment in the intelligence community, only made him more dangerous. He has received extensive military and combat training dating back to the 1990s and was deployed overseas as recently as 2018 as a contractor for the C.I.A. and the State Department, the government said.