Tampa man fought cops; Pinellas men carried sledgehammer, pepper spray in Capitol riot, feds say

·3 min read

Add three more to the list of Floridians charged with participating in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.

A Tampa man alleged to be associated with the Proud Boys extremist group, and two Pinellas County men accused in a separate case of carrying pepper spray and a sledgehammer, are the latest to be arrested in connection with the attack in which a mob disrupted the congressional certification of the 2020 election results.

Alan Fischer III, 28, known as “A.J.,” is the subject of a federal criminal complaint released Friday by Washington, D.C., prosecutors. It describes Fischer as associating with the Proud Boys, and details a series of videos taken Jan. 6 which appear to show him in a crowd that fought against police in a tunnel on the Capitol Lower West Terrace.

Zachary Johnson, 33, of St. Petersburg, and Dion Rajewski, 61, of Largo, are accused in a separate federal indictment of entering the Capitol grounds that day and engaging in disorderly conduct. The indictment is light on details, but it states that both men carried pepper spray and that Johnson sprayed an officer with it. Johnson is also alleged to have carried a sledgehammer, according to the indictment.

Fischer, who lives in Tampa, flew to the Washington, D.C., area on Jan. 4, where he rented a car, and drove back to Florida a few days later, according to the complaint. Several images in the complaint show a person the FBI identified as Fischer with slicked-back brown hair and a short beard wearing sunglasses and a dark hooded sweatshirt. The document alleges that he marched with a group of Proud Boys prior to the attack at the Capitol.

He joined as people crowded outside the tunnel entrance. Pictures show Fischer entering the tunnel with the crowd, covering his face with a mask and pulling up his hoodie, the complaint states. He joined the crowd as they pushed against a line of officers, “at times rocking together in a coordinated fashion,” the complaint states.

As the crowd snatched away the officers’ shields, Fischer was among those who passed the shields back out of the tunnel, the document states. He exited the tunnel and was heard yelling “push” as the crowd continued to bear down on officers.

Later, the document states, Fischer was seen picking up and throwing two chairs, an orange traffic cone and a pole toward officers.

The complaint references an unnamed witness FBI agents interviewed in August who was said to have known Fischer from attending Proud Boys events in Tampa. The witness identified Fischer in photos.

Fischer was arrested Thursday and remained overnight in the Pinellas County Jail, which holds local people detained on federal charges. The complaint accuses him of several federal crimes, including assaulting, resisting and impeding officers, and committing an act of physical violence on Capitol grounds.

He turned 28 on Friday, according to jail records. His first court appearance was scheduled for Friday afternoon.

Johnson and Rajewski were also arrested Thursday. Altogether, Johnson faces six criminal charges, including assaulting, resisting or impeding an officer. Rajewski is accused of five federal crimes, including civil disorder and engaging in physical violence in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon.

A judge allowed the pair to each be released on a $50,000 signature bond, meaning they will pay only if they do not show up for future court dates. Johnson was ordered to be placed on home detention, with a GPS monitor to ensure he does not leave without permission. Release conditions included that both men must give up any firearms they own, and cannot change addresses or travel without permission.

Efforts to reach both men by phone were unsuccessful. An attorney for Rajewski declined to comment on the case.

The three arrests bring the total number of Floridians accused of participating in the events of Jan. 6 to 79, the highest number of any state.

More than 700 people have been charged with crimes related to the Jan. 6 attack.

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