MAGA hat, varsity jacket lead FBI to two New York men charged in Capitol riot: feds

Stephen Rex Brown and Chelsia Rose Marcius, New York Daily News
·3 min read

A Westchester varsity sports jacket and an oversized MAGA hat helped investigators track down two more accused rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol earlier this month in a frenzy of Trump support, federal authorities said Tuesday.

Bryan Gundersen, who previously attended Byram Hills High School in Armonk, N.Y., was charged Monday after local police notified the feds that area residents recognized him among the Jan. 6 mob, according to a criminal complaint.

Multiple people spotted the Byram Hills High School letterman’s jacket and then recognized Gundersen as the man wearing it, the feds said.

Gundersen, a one-time varsity football player, initially told investigators when they contacted him that he’d been at the U.S. Capitol at the time of the riot but didn’t go inside. He later admitted that he did actual enter the building, the feds said.

Text messages recovered from his phone also placed Gundersen inside the U.S. Capitol halls during the violent assault.

“We all stormed the us capital [sic] and tried to take over the government,” reads a text from Gundersen sent on Jan. 8, the complaint says. “We failed but f*** it.”

In another message, this one sent Jan. 7, Gundersen wrote, “Look at these scared little b*****,” referring to a photo lawmakers who took cover during the attack, according to the authorities.

Federal prosecutors also charged William Vogel, 26, of Pawling, N.Y. on Monday after tipsters identified the accused rioter through Snapchat, where Vogel had posted a video from inside the U.S. Capitol egging on the crowd, according to the criminal complaint.

He had also messaged with an individual on Facebook, who had sent him a photo Jan. 7 of what appeared to be Vogel carrying a large red foam MAGA hat outside of the U.S. Capitol.

Vogel later appeared to have the same hat on his passenger seat while driving along JFK Memorial Highway in Maryland the morning of Jan. 9, the complaint says. The 26-year-old had previously posted selfie on social media wearing what looked to be very same hat.

Vogel was released from custody on Tuesday without having to post bail. He was ordered to stay away from Washington, D.C., except for court appearances.

The FBI has received over 200,000 digital media tips, and has identified a list of over 400 suspects in the ugly siege, FBI Assistant Director in Charge Steven D’Antuono told reporters during a joint press conference Tuesday with the U.S. Department of Justice.

So far, federal authorities have charged over 150 federal cases and over 50 Superior Court cases, said Acting U.S. Attorney Michael Sherwin, noting that they’ve secured more than 500 grand jury subpoenas and search warrants.

Nearly all 150 of those cases carry felony charges, said Sherwin, adding that federal prosecutors at first slapped many rioters with misdemeanors before ramping up the charges.

“These are significant charges that have significant teeth,” he said, noting that obstruction of justice charges lobbied against some rioters carry up to 20 years behind bars.