Capitol riot pipe bomb suspect unidentified one year later

Capitol riot pipe bomb suspect unidentified one year later

In what is perhaps the most enduring mystery from last year’s Capitol riot, the person who planted pipe bombs outside the headquarters of the Republican National Committee and the Democratic National Committee hours before the violence began remains unidentified and unaccounted for.

While Attorney General Merrick Garland has insisted the Department of Justice’s probe into the events of Jan. 6, 2021 is ongoing, authorities appear no closer to naming the suspect — or even clarifying whether the person is a man or woman.

In September, the FBI released new surveillance footage of the would-be terrorist sitting on a bench outside the DNC’s headquarters on the night of Jan. 5. 

According to Steven D’Antuono, assistant director in charge of the bureau’s Washington Field Office, the FBI has conducted over 900 interviews, collected approximately 39,000 video files and assessed around 400 tips to its effort to catch the perp. 

“It’s still a priority for us, has always been a priority since day one to find this individual, and we haven’t stopped since the day that we found the devices,” he told ABC News this week

Pipe bomb suspect.
The FBI is still working to catch the suspect and has conducted more than 900 interviews.
FBI Handout/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

D’Antuono reaffirmed that the devices were active and would have caused bloodshed if they were set off.

“They would have exploded. They could have exploded,” he said. “They are viable devices that could have gone off and exploded, causing a lot of serious injury or death.”

The bombs were found on Jan. 6 before they were detonated. 

An explosive device is shown outside of the Republican National Committee office.
The pipe bombs were placed outside the RNC and DNC headquarters hours before the violence began on Jan. 6.
An explosive device is shown outside of the Republican National Committee office.
The FBI reaffirmed that the devices were active.

Surveillance footage of the suspect shows the person wearing a gray sweatshirt, face mask and Nike Air Max Speed Turf sneakers colored yellow, black and gray. The suspect was also seen carrying a backpack. The FBI believes the person planted the pipe bombs between 7:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. on the evening of Jan. 5. 

Authorities also believe the suspect is not from the Washington DC area.

The FBI, along with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), is offering a reward of up to $100,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the would-be bomber. 

On Wednesday, Garland vowed that his department’s work in prosecuting those involved in the violence is not over, saying, “the actions we have taken thus far will not be our last.”

Garland revealed that “more than 725” people have been arrested and charged with crimes and officials are searching for more.

“Those involved must be held accountable. There is no higher priority for us at the Department of Justice,” said Garland, who added that he “remains committed to holding all January 6th perpetrators at any level accountable under law, whether they were present that day or were otherwise criminally responsible for the assault on our democracy.”

FBI poster.
The FBI is offering a reward of up to $100,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect.
FBI/AFP via Getty Images

Garland notably did not provide any update on the would-be pipe bomber. 

In recent weeks, the attorney general has come under fire from liberals for the DOJ’s handling of those involved in the riot.

Progressive Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) was among those who accused Garland of a “weak” response. 

“I think [Attorney General] Merrick Garland has been extremely weak and I think there should be a lot more of the organizers of January 6 that should be arrested by now,” the progressive  told “CNN Newsroom” Tuesday.

Gallego charged that investigators have focused too much on people who physically entered the Capitol building, rather than allies of former President Donald Trump who have said they wished to delay the congressional vote count as long as possible on Jan. 6, 2021 to build pressure on then-Vice President Mike Pence to reject the certified state results.

“I think some of them are doing criminal acts, especially interference of Congress in terms of their duties,” he said. “I think we have to certainly look at them. This is why we need to have an active attorney general that can separate those that were doing political work from actual work helping the insurrection and or the coup plotters.”

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