Proud Boys member captured after disappearing before Jan 6 sentencing

Christopher Worrell pepper-sprayed police during the attack on the Capitol, according to court documents

Martha McHardy
Friday 29 September 2023 14:43 BST
Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio arrested on Capitol riot conspiracy charges

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A Proud Boys member who went missing just before he was set to be sentenced for his role in the January 6 riot has been arrested by the FBI, according to a spokesperson for the Collier County Sheriff’s Office in Florida.

Christopher Worrell, from the county seat, Naples, went missing in August after he was convicted of several felonies during the attack on the US Capitol.

The 52-year-old disappeared just before he was due to be sentenced for his actions in Washington, DC.

Proud Boys member Christopher Worrell was arrested
Proud Boys member Christopher Worrell was arrested (FBI)

“We can confirm the arrest of Christopher Worrell. The FBI arrested him and the Collier County Sheriff’s Office assisted,” a spokesperson for the sheriff’s office said.

Worrell, a self-identified member the Proud Boys, a right-wing extremist group prominent in the Capitol attack, used pepper spray on police during the invasion, according to court documents.

A judge found Worrell guilty in May 2023 of assaulting, resisting,or impeding certain officers using a dangerous weapon, obstruction of an official proceeding of Congress, and obstructing, impeding or interfering with officers during the commission of a civil disorder, entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon, disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon, engaging in physical violence with a deadly or dangerous weapon, and an act of physical violence in the Capitol Grounds or Buildings.

During the January 6 riot, Worrell marched with other Proud Boys from the Washington Monument to the Capitol, carrying pepper gel, according to court records.

Proud Boys chairman Enrique Tarrio
Proud Boys chairman Enrique Tarrio (AP)

“Once on Capitol grounds, Worrell spewed vitriol for half an hour at the overwhelmed officers restraining the mob,” the documents said. And when he saw an opportunity to pepper-spray the police line from deep within the crowd, Worrell took it.”

The 52-year-old also allegedly warned officers: “Don’t make us go against you,” as they passed him.

Before going on the lam, Worrell had been on house arrest after court records show he complained about the treatment at a Washington, DC, jail.

Prosecutors had sought a 14-year prison sentence for Worrell.

Protesters loyal to President Donald Trump rally at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021
Protesters loyal to President Donald Trump rally at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021 (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

The former Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio and three other members were found guilty of treason-related charges in connection with violent riots to upend Joe Biden’s election win on January 6.

Ten others connected to the January 6 attack, including the leader of the far-right militia group the Oath Keepers, have either been convicted by a jury or pleaded guilty on charges of seditious conspiracy in the aftermath of the riots.

More than 1,000 people have been charged by federal prosecutors in connection with the attack.

The Proud Boys were initially conceived in 2016 by Vice co-founder turned far-right commentator Gavin McInness. The group is known for its violence at public rallies and its misogynistic, racist philosophy.

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