Retired USAF Lt. Col. Larry Brock accused in Capitol riot released


Emerson Clarridge

Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Jan. 15—FORT WORTH — When FBI special agents searched Larry Brock Jr.’s Grapevine apartment, they found hanging in a closet a jacket with red markings that resembles one in a photo that he has acknowledged shows him on the U.S. Senate floor last week as the legislative body was to certify the Electoral College vote.

In the trash was a patch, previously Velcroed to Brock’s body armor, that shows the Punisher, a comic character that has become a symbol of vigilante justice.

Brock had helpfully left on top of gun safes codes to access them, believing that law enforcement officers would want to open the empty containers.

At the end of a detention hearing on Thursday in U.S. District Court in Fort Worth, U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Cureton ordered Brock released from custody, but said he would be on a “short rope.” Cureton said that he may revisit the ruling if Brock does not comply with restrictions on possessing firearms, home detention, internet use or other matters, or is indicted on other crimes.

Brock, 53, was charged in U.S. District Court with knowingly entering a restricted building without lawful authority and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. Cureton also ruled on Thursday that the U.S. Attorney’s Office had demonstrated there was probable cause to believe Brock had committed the crimes.

Brock merited release while awaiting trial because the charges are misdemeanors, he had turned himself in, and he had a “long, distinguished military career,” Cureton ruled.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Weimer argued that Brock was a danger because he believed that he was participating in a civil war, intended to take hostages at the Capitol and may have injured government officials had they not evacuated the Senate chamber.

“He shouldn’t get credit for being a few minutes too late,” Weimer said.

The case, like others in which the defendants are alleged to have been involved in the Capitol intrusion, is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.

Federal Public Defender Brook Antonio said the crimes with which Brock has been charged were equivalent to trespassing. Although Weimer said that other riot participants possessed Molotov cocktails and pipe bombs and chanted that Vice President Mike Pence should be hanged, there was no evidence that Brock had been involved in those elements of the riot, Antonio argued.

Until his role in the fray became public, Brock was employed by Hillwood Airways, a private charter airline that operates from Fort Worth’s Alliance Airport. He is an Air Force veteran.

FBI Special Agent John Moore testified that several U.S Capitol Police images show Brock inside the Capitol. In some of the photos it appears that Brock carried flex handcuffs.

At the beginning of the FBI effort to find Brock on Saturday, special agents went to a Grapevine apartment complex. They confirmed at the leasing office that Brock was a resident and that he likely left a garage at 1:21 p.m. The FBI began to track his cellphone and learned it was near Eagle Mountain Lake in northern Tarrant County, Moore testified. A surveillance team looked for his pickup truck on the lake shore.

At midday Sunday, Brock’s cellphone was near Keller, Moore testified. The agent called Brock and left a message. Brock responded with a text message that suggested that he intended to consult an attorney. About three hours after Moore called, Brock arrived at the Grapevine Police Department, and agents arrested him. He declined to answer law enforcement officers’ questions.

Moore read from Brock’s posts to Facebook at the detention hearing.

On the day of the riot, Jan. 6, under the name Torch Flyer, Brock wrote:

“Patriots on the Capitol”

“Patriots storming”

“Men with guns need to shoot there (sic) way in.”

Before his time at Hillwood Airways, Brock worked at CAE SimuFlite. Moore read from a May 2018 letter that alerted Brock that he had been fired.

” … it has recently come to our attention that you inappropriately communicated to employees that you had not killed anyone for a while and regarding potentially shooting members of a particular religion and/or race,” manager Nelson Camacho wrote.

Brock, who told The New Yorker that the presidential election in November was fraudulent, wore a green helmet and a tactical vest at the Capitol, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

He told The New Yorker he found the flex handcuffs on the ground and did not intend to use them. In an interview that was included in an article published on Saturday, Brock said that he went to Washington to demonstrate peacefully. “The President asked for his supporters to be there to attend, and I felt like it was important, because of how much I love this country, to actually be there,” he said.

Brock said that he assumed he was welcome to enter the Capitol building, the article reported.

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