| Naples Daily News
US points to organized extremists in Capitol riot
Authorities investigating the January 6th insurrection at the Capitol say two extremist groups that traveled to Washington along with thousands of other Trump supporters weren’t whipped into an impulsive frenzy by President Donald Trump. (March 10)
Government documents leading to the arrest of an East Naples man linked to violence at the U.S. Capitol claim he is a member of the far-right group, the Proud Boys.
Christopher Worrell, 49, was arrested after FBI agents executed a search and arrest warrant by 6 a.m. Friday in the 200 block of Stanhope Circle, according to the FBI.
In a statement of facts filed in court by an unidentified FBI officer who is assigned to the Fort Myers Resident Agency of the Tampa Field Office, the officer outlines his probable cause to charge Worrell in a Jan. 6 incident in Washington, D.C.
The officer states that Worrell violated multiple laws including:
►entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds without lawful authority,
►knowingly and with intent to impede or disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business,
►knowingly engaged in any act of physical violence against a person or property in any restricted building or grounds,
►used or carried a deadly or dangerous weapon in relation to his violations,
►willfully and knowingly uttered loud, threatening or abusive language, or engaged in disorderly conduct at any place in the grounds or in any Capitol Buildings with the intent to impede, disrupt or disturb the session of Congress or either House of Congress.
On Jan. 13, a tipster contacted the FBI to report that they believed Worrell traveled to the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, and potentially participated in the riot. The details are included in the FBI statement of facts a federal magistrate signed March 10.
The tipster said they are an acquaintance of Worrell’s live-in girlfriend.
During a raid Friday, FBI agents arrested Worrell at a home owned by Trish Priller. Worrell’s Facebook Page says he and Priller are in a relationship.
Priller, who declined comment Saturday, is an executive assistant at the Naples Daily News. As of Saturday, Priller’s supervisors could not be reached for comment.
In the report, Priller is not identified, but the tipster said the girlfriend told them that Worrell is a Proud Boy and that she and Worrell went to Washington, D.C., to be there on Jan. 6, according to the statement of facts.
The tipster also told the FBI that they had seen a video on Worrell’s Facebook page that showed him participating in the riots.
On Jan. 18, the officer interviewed Worrell and asked if he had participated in the U.S. Capitol riots. The report indicated he was agitated that the FBI was at his house, but admitted that he was at the Capitol on Jan. 6. He denied entering the Capitol building and denied criminal conduct.
He also was agitated when asked about the Proud Boys, stating, “the Proud Boys were not a racist white supremacist group like the media tries to portray.”
The Proud boys were established in 2016 and “are self-described ‘Western chauvinists’ who adamantly deny any connection to the racist ‘alt-right.’ They insist they are simply a fraternal group spreading an ‘anti-political correctness’ and ‘anti-white guilt’ agenda,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
As of Feb. 3, USAToday reported six people charged for their involvement in the Capitol riots were linked to the Proud Boys, stating they are an extremist group with ties to white nationalism.
The investigator also found images of Worrell on various Twitter accounts, but noted he does not know the credibility of the information posted on the account.
In some of those photos, Worrell wears what looks to be a Proud Boys patch on his tactical vest, which appears to be the same vest he wore at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, the statement of facts states.
Worrell was also identified in multiple images and videos showing the events of Jan. 6, and placing him within the restricted area.
In those images it shows Worrell with a canister clipped to his vest that appears to match paper spray gel and is later seen in a photo spraying a substance from a canister.
It is not certain who the target was that Worrell was spraying, but in other photos and videos from that time of day, law enforcement officers are positioned where he appears to direct the pepper spray, according to the statement of facts.
As of Saturday, Worrell’s attorney could not be reached for comment.
Worrell on Friday appeared in federal court, where a judge in the Middle District of Florida ordered him released. The Justice Department appealed and a chief judge in Washington, D.C., federal court temporarily halted his release pending further review.
A videoconference hearing to determine whether to release Worrell is set for 12:30 p.m. Tuesday.
In 2009, Worrell was arrested for impersonating an officer after he followed and pulled up to a woman on U.S. 41 East and Guilford Road in East Naples trying to get her to pull over for running a red light, according to his arrest report.
He had a loaded handgun, handcuffs, knives, boxes of ammunition and a fake badge in his possession when deputies arrested him.
In May 2010, Worrell was sentenced to three years probation and two years of community control for his charge of impersonating a law enforcement officer.