IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Judge orders Jan. 6 rioter who showed up outside Obama's home detained until trial

Taylor Taranto, who espoused far-right conspiracy theories, had two guns and 400 rounds of ammunition in his van when he showed up at an address Donald Trump posted online.
Taylor Taranto, center, at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Taylor Taranto, center, at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.Metropolitan Police Department

WASHINGTON — A Jan. 6 rioter who was identified by online sleuths nearly two years ago but wasn't arrested until he showed up outside the home of former President Barack Obama with two guns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition in his van was ordered detained until trial Wednesday.

Taylor Taranto, of Washington state, faces four misdemeanor charges in connection with the Capitol attack, but federal prosecutors have indicated more charges could be on the way. Taranto has been living in his van, which was often parked outside the Washington jail where many Jan. 6 defendants are being held, for the past couple of months.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui had questioned whether, given that Taranto had faced only misdemeanor charges, he could be detained only on the basis of presenting a risk to the public. Faruqui said that a number of factors weighed in favor of releasing Taranto before trial but that he was ultimately concerned that Taranto does pose a threat to the public.

"We as a country have failed you," Faruqui said, referring to Taranto's service in the military and the post-traumatic stress disorder he has suffered from since then. "Now you have to pay the price for our failure. ... At every turn, it seems, you get let down, and that's not fair."

A firearm recovered from Taylor Taranto’s vehicle.
A firearm recovered from Taylor Taranto’s vehicle.U.S. Attorney's Office

Faruqui said that the "temperature is way too high in our political discussions" and that it was "truly heartbreaking" that Taranto had to be locked up before trial. Taranto was identified in August 2021 after a facial recognition search of photos at the Capitol turned up photos of him posing with a cardboard cutout of former President Donald Trump. He showed up outside Obama's residence last month after Trump posted a screenshot that included Obama's address on his social media platform. Taranto reposted it and wrote on Telegram: “We got these losers surrounded! See you in hell, Podesta’s and Obama’s!”

Taranto was recording himself when he was near the Obamas' residence, talking about how he was searching for tunnels that connected their home to Tony Podesta's.

When he was arrested near Obama's home, authorities found two guns and 400 rounds of ammunition.

Taranto had, weeks earlier, shown up at the sentencing of David Walls-Kaufman, who was his co-defendant in a civil lawsuit filed by the widow of an officer who died by suicide after the Capitol attack. Both men deny having played a role in the officer's death.

A firearm recovered from Taylor Taranto’s vehicle.
A firearm recovered from Taylor Taranto’s vehicle.U.S. Attorney's Office

Faruqui said he was worried that there could be "catastrophic" consequences if Taranto were allowed out and did the things he thought elected officials were telling him to do.

Faruqui, while not explicitly referring to Trump, made it clear that he thought the officials who filled Taranto's head with conspiracy theories and lies about the 2020 election bore moral responsibility for the situation.

"Where are the people telling you do things?" Faruqui asked Taranto, rhetorically. "Where are they? They're not here."