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Virginia National Guard corporal arrested and charged in connection with Capitol riot

Jacob Fracker is the first known service member arrested in connection with the Jan. 6 riot.

Two off-duty police officers who participated in the Capitol siege, one of whom is a corporal in the Virginia National Guard, were charged Tuesday in federal court — becoming the first known service member arrest in connection to the Jan. 6 riot.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia identified the men as Jacob Fracker and Thomas Robertson, both officers in Rocky Mount, about 25 miles south of Roanoke.

Image: Jacob Fracker and Thomas Robertson
Rocky Mount police officers Jacob Fracker and Thomas Robertson were arrested and charged for participating in the Capitol riot.

Fracker and Robertson were charged with one count of knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority and one count of violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, the office said in a Wednesday statement.

Fracker serves as an 11B infantryman in a traditional National Guard station, according to a statement from the U.S. Army. He is currently not on duty with Virginia National Guard troops in Washington, D.C., the Army said.

Both officers were off duty when they were photographed in the Capitol allegedly making obscene gestures in front of a statue of John Stark, a Revolutionary War general, the office said.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said the men did not hide their involvement in storming the Capitol on social media.

According to the office, Robertson said in a since-deleted social media post: “CNN and the Left are just mad because we actually attacked the government who is the problem and not some random small business.”

The office said Fracker posted a comment on a Facebook post: “Lol to anyone who’s possibly concerned about the picture of me going around… Sorry I hate freedom? ...Not like I did anything illegal.”

He and Robertson are on administrative leave, according to the Rocky Mount Police Department.

It wasn’t immediately clear Friday whether Robertson had a lawyer. A spokesperson for Fracker's attorney said they could not comment on an active case. Fracker and Robertson did not return phone calls to numbers listed for them on Friday.

Robertson told CBS affiliate WDBJ7 on Sunday that he was in the back of the Capitol, where he said he did not witness any rioting, violence or tear gas.

“We were allowed by Capitol police to be where we were and were given water bottles and told where we could go and where we couldn’t,” Robertson told the station.

He told NBC affiliate WSLS that the picture of him was taken “long after any disorder" happened.

A spokesperson for the Capitol Police told NBC News in an email Friday that investigators were reviewing video and camera footage of some officers who appeared to be in violation of its policies on the day of the incursion for "disciplinary action, up to, and including, termination."

Several officers have already been suspended pending the outcome of their investigations, according to the department.

On Tuesday, Fracker released a statement saying that his actions were an "expression of grief against what very many Americans would consider tyranny," The Roanoke Times reported.

Despite numerous hand counts, audits, legal challenges and investigations into voter fraud that turned up nothing to support President Donald Trump’s lie that the election was stolen, Fracker, like Robertson, is unmoved, according to the newspaper.

The statement did not directly address his and Robertson’s alleged involvement in the Capitol riot.

Fracker and Robertson were among dozens of pro-Trump rioters who federal investigators are searching for after the Capitol riot, which left five dead, including a police officer.

Among others facing charges are two men who were seen carrying restraints, a West Virginia legislator, an Arizona QAnon supporter seen carrying a 6-foot spear and a Florida man photographed with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s lectern.