Still images from the D.O.J. shows Christopher Warnagiris, a Marine Corps officer stationed at Marine Corps Base Quantico. Warnagiris was arrested today in Virginia and charged with crimes related to violating the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
An active U.S. Marine officer was arrested Thursday in Virginia and charged with violence against police by a group of supporters of then-President Donald Trump during the January 6 invasion of the U.S. Capitol.
Major Christopher Warnagiris, indicted as the first member of the U.S. Forces on active duty in connection with the riot, is charged with slipping past a line of police guarding the Capitol and closing through a door to the east crowd rotunda of the Capitol.
Warnagiris, a 40-year-old Woodbridge, Virginia resident, is charged with assaulting, resisting, or obstructing certain officials, obstructing law enforcement, obstructing Congress from forcibly entering the Capitol Grounds, and behaving in disorder and entering or staying in a restricted building without legitimate authority.
Warnagiris, who served 18 years with the Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan, faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison if convicted on charges brought before a federal court in Washington.
According to Marines, Warnagiris is currently assigned to the Training and Education Command of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force's Personnel Training Program at the Quantico, Va. Naval base.
A judge ordered Warnagiris' release when he appeared in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on Thursday afternoon.
In addition to Warnagiris, the more than 400 defendants pending include at least four other members of the military: two soldiers from the Army Reserve and two members of the National Guard in various states. More than three dozen military veterans have also been arrested in such cases.
A still from a video of the D.O.J. Christopher Warnagiris (circled in red), a Marine Corps officer stationed at Marine Corps Base Quantico, was arrested today in Virginia and charged with crimes related to violating the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
Court documents say that Warnagiris, after forcibly entering the Capitol, positioned himself in the corner of the door and propped his body up on the door and pulled other rioters inside.
Video surveillance footage shows Warnagiris bumping into a police officer who was trying to close the door, according to a criminal complaint.
The Marine Corps said in a statement confirming that Warnagiris is on active duty, "The Marine Corps understands this: there is no place for racial hatred or extremism in the Marine Corps. Our strength rests on the individual excellence of each Individual marine regardless of background. Bigotry and racial extremism contradict our core values. "
"Participation in hate or extremist groups of any kind is in direct contradiction to the core values of honor, courage and commitment that we stand for as Marines and will not be tolerated by the Marine Corps," the statement said.
"We expect every Marine to treat his fellow Marines with dignity and respect. Those who do not appreciate the contributions of others, regardless of their background, are destructive to our culture, our fighting ability and have no place in our ranks."
Warnagiris was identified by a member of the public on March 16 after the person complained about seeing three photos of a man entering the Capitol.
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This witness recognized Warnagiris after working with him for about six months in 2019, the complaint read.
A second witness, "who has worked with Warnagiris for about nine months and sees him in close proximity several times a week," identified him in the same photos that the first witness had seen according to the indictment.
In 2017, according to a news article, Warnagiris acted as the head of operations for a landing force of US Marines and Navy sailors who were stationed during a two-month deployment in the area of operations of the 5th US Fleet on the amphibious assault ship LHD Tonnere of the French Navy on the Marines- Website.
His service awards include the Navy and Marine Corps Medal of Commendation, Global War on Terrorism Expedition Medal, Medal of Merit, Naval Unit Commendation Medal, and Afghanistan Campaign Medal.
The U.S. Navy Maj. Christopher Warnagiris (R) interacts with a French naval officer during the embarkation of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit aboard the French amphibious assault ship LHD Tonnerre (L9014).
Photo: Sgt. Jessica Lucio | DVIDS
About 440 people were arrested at the Capitol for the January 6 riot that began after Trump urged crowds to march there at a rally outside the White House.
The invasion of the Capitol complex disrupted a joint congressional session held that day to confirm President Joe Biden's victory at the electoral college.
Trump falsely claimed for weeks after the presidential election in November that he had done so since he won the White House race and Biden’s victory was the result of widespread electoral fraud.