An active-duty Marine officer stationed in Quantico, Virginia, was arrested Thursday and charged with crimes related to the U.S. Capitol breach on Jan. 6, the District of Columbia U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
Maj. Christopher Warnagiris, 40, of Woodbridge, Virginia, was charged “with federal offenses that include assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers; obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder; and obstruction of justice, among other charges,” according to a Thursday press release.
In the first 120 days after Jan. 6, approximately 440 individuals have been arrested on charges related to the Capitol breach ― most supporters of then-President Donald Trump ― which disrupted a joint session of Congress that was in the process of certifying electoral votes to the 2020 presidential election for President Joe Biden.
Warnagiris was the first active-duty service member to be charged in connection to events that day, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Thursday.
Warnagiris allegedly was the first one through the East Rotunda doors on Jan. 6., according to court documents, “after pushing through a line of police officers.”
Video footage, captured shortly after 2:25 p.m. on Jan. 6, allegedly shows the Marine, once inside the Capitol, putting himself in a doorway corner and using his body to keep the door open and pull other people inside. A U.S. Capitol Police officer tried to close the doors, but the man in the video continued to push it open, pushing the officer in the process.
The Marine Corps confirmed that Warnagiris is an active-duty Marine field artillery officer. He put on the rank of major in 2013.
He is currently assigned to the Marine Air-Ground Task Force Staff Training Program as part of Training and Education Command in Quantico, Virginia.
“The Marine Corps is clear on this: There is no place for racial hatred or extremism in the Marine Corps,” Headquarters Marine Corps spokesman Maj. Jorge Hernandez said in a Thursday email. “Our strength is derived from the individual excellence of every Marine regardless of background. Bigotry and racial extremism run contrary to our core values.”
“Participation with hate or extremist groups of any kind is directly contradictory to the core values of honor, courage, and commitment that we stand for as Marines and isn’t tolerated by the Marine Corps.”
Warnagiris was identified March 16 after a witness saw three photos posted online looking to locate a man who had entered the Capitol, according to a criminal compliant.
That witness, who had worked with Warnagiris once a week for about six months in 2019, contacted the FBI.
On March 17 two FBI agents went to Warnagiris’ command at Quantico, Virginia, where a co-worker, who has worked with the Marine for about nine months and sees him in close proximity many times a week, also identified him as the one in the photos.
Warnagiris’ first court appearance was Thursday at 2:00 p.m. in the Eastern District of Virginia.
His case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Department of Justice National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.
He has not yet hired an attorney, nor knows if he has funds to hire an attorney, he said in court, which made audio available for a telephone audience.
In 2017 Warnagiris was the operations officer for a U.S. landing force command element aboard the French Navy amphibious assault ship Tonnerre during a two-month deployment with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, according to a Marine Corps story.
The deployment, dubbed “Bois Belleau 100,” commemorated the 100th anniversary of the World War I Battle of Belleau Wood in France.
His awards include the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (three), the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (six), Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Unit Commendation (three), Defense Meritorious Service Medal, NATO medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and National Defense Service Medal.
This is a breaking story and will be updated as Marine Corps Times learns more.
Philip Athey contributed to this report.
Andrea Scott is editor of Marine Corps Times. On Twitter: _andreascott.
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