The 33-year-old costumed man who became a viral sensation after images spread in news reports of his participation in the siege of the US Capitol Jan. 6 is a Navy veteran, according to Military.com.
Arizona resident Jacob Anthony Chansley, who goes by Jake Angeli and calls himself the “QAnon Shaman,” surrendered to the FBI field office in Phoenix on Saturday and was charged with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, the Department of Justice announced. He was also charged with violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
Chansley entered the Capitol building carrying a spear with an American flag tied just below the blade and wearing a horned fur headdress, face paint, tan pants, and no shirt.
Military.com reported that Chansley served in the Navy as a supply clerk seaman apprentice, according to his personnel records. He joined the service in September 2005 and left in October 2007, after earning the rank of E-2 about two months prior. He trained in Illinois and Mississippi before being assigned to the now-decommissioned supercarrier Kitty Hawk in 2006. His last duty station was with the Transient Personnel Unit in Puget Sound, Washington.
A Navy official told Task & Purpose Chansley was discharged after he refused to take the anthrax vaccine. Citing privacy regulations, officials declined to provide the characterization of his discharge.
Chansley has long been a fixture at Trump rallies, and the FBI identified him by his distinctive tattoos, which include bricks circling his biceps in an apparent reference to Trump’s border wall, according to The Associated Press.
The AP captured a photo of Chansley holding a sign that read, “HOLD THE LINE PATRIOTS GOD WINS” at a Nov. 7, 2020, rally of Trump supporters protesting election results in Phoenix. He also expressed support for the president in an interview with the AP that day.
On Monday, the public defender assigned to Chansley’s case told Judge Deborah Fine that Chansley hadn’t eaten since he was taken into custody because he is on an extremely restrictive diet, perhaps for religious reasons.
Chansley’s mother, Martha Chansley, told ABC15 in Phoenix that her son “gets very sick if he doesn’t eat organic food.”
Fine ordered the public defender to work with US Marshals to ensure Chansley is provided food in line with his dietary restrictions.
In an interview Thursday with ABC15, Martha Chansley was unapologetic for her son’s role in the Capitol siege, which caused the death of five people, including Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick, the Air National Guard veteran who died of injuries sustained while protecting the Capitol.
Chansley told a Newsy reporter that he’s not worried about the charges against him because “in all honesty, I didn’t break any laws. I walked through open doors.”
Chansley’s mother called her son a “patriot” and the “gentlest person I know.”
He was one of several military veterans who fell in with a mob of pro-Trump rioters who stormed the Capitol Wednesday, infiltrating deep inside the building and forcing Congressional members and Vice President Mike Pence to evacuate in the midst of the process of certifying votes from the November presidential election.
Ashli Babbitt, a 35-year-old California native and veteran of the Air Force and Air National Guard, was shot and killed by a Capitol Police officer when she tried to cross a barricaded entrance into the Senate chambers during the siege.
Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Larry Rendall Brock Jr. was arrested Sunday in Texas and charged in federal court with knowingly entering a restricted building without lawful authority and with violent entry and disorderly conduct. Brock was identified in photos showing him standing in the well of the Senate, wearing a military-style helmet and body armor while holding a pair of zip-tie handcuffs.
Army officials are also investigating the involvement of Capt. Emily Rainey, a psychological operations officer with the 4th Psychological Operations Group at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Rainey told the AP she attended the rally in support of President Donald Trump and did not participate in the siege of the Capitol.