The so-called “QAnon Shaman,” a shirtless man wearing a horned, furry headdress and face paint who joined rioters in storming the Capitol last week, is a Navy veteran.
Jacob Anthony Chansley, also known as Jake Angeli, of Arizona, was charged this weekend with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, and with violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, according to a U.S. Justice Department announcement Saturday.
The 33-year-old was taken into custody the same day.
Chansley’s mother said he hasn’t eaten for days because the detention facility where he’s at doesn’t have organic food, according to ABC15, a Phoenix TV station.
Photos from last week show the costumed man the feds identified as Chansley in the halls of Congress and sitting at the dais of the U.S. Senate, according to a statement of facts for Chansley’s arrest warrant.
“Chansley stated that he came as part of a group effort, with other ‘patriots’ from Arizona, at the request of the President that all ‘patriots’ come to D.C. on January 6, 2021,” according to the statement.
“It is alleged that Chansley was identified as the man seen in media coverage who entered the Capitol building dressed in horns, a bearskin headdress, red, white and blue face paint, shirtless, and tan pants,” the Justice Department said Saturday. “The individual carried a spear, approximately 6 feet in length, with an American flag tied just below the blade.”
But roughly 15 years before his alleged role in the Capitol attack, Chansley wore a Navy uniform for 25 months, according to service record information obtained by Navy Times.
Military.com was the first to report Chansley’s Navy connections.
He enlisted in September 2005 and left the service in October 2007 as a supply clerk seaman apprentice.
Chansley served aboard the since-decommissioned aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk from March 2006 to September 2007, according to his service record, and ended his career at a transient personnel unit in Washington state.
His awards and decorations include the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon and the Navy and Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon.
Before he turned himself in to an FBI field office in Phoenix on Saturday, Chansley was a longtime regular at President Trump’s rallies, the Associated Press reported Monday.
His headwear was visible in a Nov. 7 AP photo taken at a Trump rally in Arizona, where the president’s supporters were protesting the election result, according to the AP, and he held a sign that read “HOLD THE LINE PATRIOTS GOD WINS.”
Chansley also expressed support for Trump in an interview with an AP reporter that day.
Chansley’s mother, Martha Chansley, defended her son Thursday in an interview with ABC15 in Phoenix.
“It takes a lot of courage to be a patriot, OK, and to stand up for what it is that you believe,” she told ABC15. “Not everybody wants be the person up front.”
After saying he was a Navy veteran, Martha Chansley said her son was “probably one of the gentlest people I know.”
Five people, including a Capitol police officer, died in last Wednesday’s chaos, when Trump supporters broke into the Capitol and trashed public spaces and private offices alike, howling at times for Vice President Mike Pence to be hanged.
Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, a former New Jersey Air National Guard staff sergeant, died of injuries sustained during the riot.
Other participants in the Jan. 6 incident have been found to have ties to the military.
One member of the mob was a former Air Force member and was fatally shot in Wednesday’s melee.
A man photographed in tactical gear and carrying zip-tie handcuffs on the Senate floor on Wednesday has also been revealed to be a former Air Force officer who told The New Yorker magazine he stormed the Capitol because he believed the president wanted him to be there as the 2020 election was being certified.
The man, Larry Rendall Brock Jr., is a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel who entered active duty in 1989 and left the Air Force Reserves in 2014, according to service officials.
Capt. Emily Rainey’s involvement in the rally is currently under investigation by 1st Special Forces Command, which oversees her PSYOP unit, but there is no indication she acted against Army regulations or entered the Capitol during the riot.
Rainey, 30, was still on active duty during last week’s protests. However, she had already been handed down an adverse administrative action for a separate incident and resigned her commission, an official told Army Times.
Geoff is the editor of Navy Times, but he still loves writing stories. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.