The story of the riots at the US Capitol is still unfolding with law enforcement finding some sinister plots behind the incident that many lawmakers dubbed as an insurrection and attempted coup. Of the rioters, one was particularly highlighted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the netizens for carrying zip-ties that could have been used to take lawmakers hostage. Now, according to the US Department of Justice (DoJ), the "zip tie guy" and his mom had weapons stashed outside the Capitol.
Eric Munchel (30), known as the "zip tie guy", was arrested along with his mother, Lisa Eisenhart (57), after the January 6 Capitol attack from Nashville, Tennessee on January 16. As per DoJ's court documents, the mother and son duo stashed weapons outside the US Capitol building in a bag that contained 15 firearms including a sniper rifle, multiple assault rifles and a drum-style magazine for rapid firing, besides "hundreds of rounds of ammunition."
The police came to know about the weapon stash after recovering the video footage from Munchel's cell phone that he used to film the riot. The mother and son duo was fully prepared for consequences as they discussed it before entering the building. Both were wearing bulletproof vests while Munchel was in military-style tactical gear with a taser in his holster.
At one point in the video, Munchel was heard saying "we ain't playing f***ing nice no god damn more", as he was entering the Capitol. Eisenhart replied, "That's right." Both were also seen encouraging and helping the mob to enter the building. "Yeah, go up in there. You can go up in there now," said Munchel, who then gave his weapons to Eisenhart before entering the building. "Take my weapons off before I go in there," he said.
Conversation according to DoJ memo:
Eisenhart: We're going straight to federal prison if we go in there with weapons.
Munchel: Yeah, that's why I'm not going in there."
Eisenhart: Let's go put it—we can put 'em in the backpacks.
Munchel and his mother were identified by law enforcement after videos and photos were shared on social media platforms. The investigators then cross-matched those with hotel surveillance footage to identify them. As per the court documents, filed in court on Wednesday (January 20), Munchel gave his cell phone that recorded the incidents to a friend for "safekeeping". Police obtained the cell phone later.
As for the hearing that is set for Friday (January 22) afternoon, the police have asked for pre-trial detention for his extreme views and actions. On January 6, Munchel along with other rioters stormed the Capitol and shouted "Treason!" inside the Senate chambers a few moments after former Vice President Mike Pence was presiding over 2020 election certification.
"Munchel was prepared for conflict: as he told a reporter, he was ready to 'rise up' and 'fight if necessary'. Munchel stood with a crowd whose members shouted 'Treason!' and lamented the disappearance of lawmakers from the chamber moments earlier. Munchel's conduct here was dangerous and extremely serious," the DoJ's court filing said. Munchel will be presented to the court for a detention hearing on July 25.