Federal investigators track electronic trails to snare Tampa Bay’s Capitol riot suspects

8 On Your Side

FILE – In this Jan. 6, 2021, file photo rioters try to break through a police barrier at the Capitol in Washington. Congress is set to hear from former security officials about what went wrong at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. That’s when when a violent mob laid siege to the Capitol and interrupted the counting of electoral votes. Three of the four testifying Tuesday resigned under pressure immediately after the attack, including the former head of the Capitol Police. Much is still unknown about the attack, and lawmakers are demanding answers. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Social media posts and other electronic trails continue to lead federal investigators to suspects in the Capitol riots, and provide the evidence needed to charge them.

Graydon Young, 54, of Englewood, was caught on surveillance video in the middle of the violent crowd that sacked the capitol. Investigators allege Young, a retired Army and Navy reservist, was part of a “military stack formation” that snaked its way through the mass and into the rotunda.

Court documents indicate Young’s cell phone signal showed his path to the January 6 crime scene and his presence there as the siege erupted.

During a February hearing in Tampa Federal Court, Young’s attorney Robert Foley told Magistrate Thomas Wilson the Sarasota business owner was “duped” into joining the right wing, militant Oath Keepers a month before the insurrection.

Red arrow points to Graydon Young, in U.S. Capitol on Jan 6.

Federal investigators have tabbed that group, made up mostly of military veterans, retired and active law enforcement officers and first responders, as playing a key role in planning the attack.

In his Order of Detention, Wilson cited the government’s allegations against the claim that Young was somehow unaware of the Oath Keepers’ goals that day.

Wilson wrote in the day before the assault, Young emailed his sister Laura Steele and “encouraged [her] to join the Oath Keepers.” Steele, a retired police officer from North Carolina, is also charged.

Surveillance would later show the two together on the way to Washington, D.C., and at the Capitol during the melee.

Judge Wilson also wrote two weeks before the attack, Young “sought military-type training, which he also recommended to other Florida Oath Keepers.”

And after the attack, Young posted on Facebook, “We stormed and got inside.”

Despite the assertion Young was duped, Wilson wrote the “evidence indicates the defendant’s conduct was intentional and purposeful.”

Young, who slumped his head into his arms on the courtroom table during the February hearing, is one of nearly 300 insurrection cases from 41 states, with the FBI actively searching for as many as 500 more suspects.

Twenty-five suspects are from Florida, including three of the nine Oath Keepers charged so far.

The feds have received 230,000 digital tips and have posted about 200 still frames in a photo gallery of some of the others who allegedly stormed Washington, D.C.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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