UCLA student with extremist views who FBI says sat in Pence’s chair is charged in Capitol riot
A UCLA student who posted white supremacist views online and founded an ultra-right campus organization has been charged with federal crimes for his alleged role in the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection.
The student, Christian Secor, was captured on video sitting in the chair that Vice President Mike Pence had hastily vacated after a pro-Trump mob broke into the Capitol, according to the FBI.
FBI agents, assisted by a SWAT team, arrested Secor, 22, at his Costa Mesa home Tuesday morning after searching the residence, said Laura Eimiller, an FBI spokeswoman.
Federal prosecutors in Washington, D.C., have charged Secor with assaulting or resisting a police officer, violent entry and remaining on restricted grounds, civil disorder and obstructing an official proceeding.
During an appearance in federal court in Orange County on Tuesday, a U.S. magistrate ordered that Secor be held without bail.
Secor was captured on both video and still images in a red Make America Great Again hat occupying the chair where Pence had sat while presiding over the Senate’s certification of electoral college votes, according to an affidavit by FBI Special Agent Benjamin Elliott.
At least 11 tipsters identified Secor as the man in the video and still images either standing on the Senate floor or on the dais sitting in Pence’s chair.
In some images, the man is seen carrying a large blue “America First” flag on the Senate floor.
After video of the scene surfaced on the New Yorker’s website, investigators obtained security camera video of Secor in the hallways, Rotunda area and Senate floor, the affidavit said.
Moments earlier, Secor was with a mob forcing his way past at least three police officers and through a set of double doors into the Capitol, Elliott said in the sworn statement.
“As a result of Secor and others pushing on the double doors ... the doors opened and dozens of additional rioters flooded into the building,” Elliott wrote. “The Capitol Police officers were shoved by the crowd, at times trapped between the doors and the crowd, and eventually pushed out of the way of the oncoming mob.”
The FBI on Thursday arrested Huntington Beach man Mark Simon on federal charges related to the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
Agents also found that Secor had broadcast live from the Capitol using DLive, a videostreaming service built on blockchain technology.
In the livestream, Secor uses the moniker Scuffed Elliot Rodger, an apparent reference to the man who killed six people in Isla Vista, Calif., in 2014 and became a hero to “incels” — a fringe group of sexually frustrated men who blame women for their misery and often advocate for violence against them.
The FBI said it also found images of Secor at a rally in Huntington Beach wearing the same black Arcteryx jacket as the man in the Capitol images.
A tipster told the FBI that after the insurrection, Secor moved back in with his mother, got rid of his cellphone and bragged that he “would not be caught for his involvement at the US Capitol.”
FBI agents placed Secor under surveillance from Jan. 25-28 before arresting him.
At UCLA last year, Secor was repeatedly accused of inciting racism with comments and tweets about immigrants and Jewish students, according to the affidavit.
The Twitter account @fullautonat, belonging to someone named Christian “Laser Eyes” Secor, calls fascism “epic” and “valorizes the 2017 Charlottsville tiki torch march” in Virginia, which featured an anti-Semitic chant, according to the affidavit.
The tweets also laud a known extremist and state that “we support nationalism everywhere” before going on to denounce “Israel’s influencing our politics,” the affidavit said.
Secor founded a student group called America First Bruins, according to the affidavit. A UCLA student told FBI agents that Secor invited “white nationalists” to campus.
Without naming Secor, a student conservative group, the Bruin Republicans, stated Tuesday that it banned someone a year ago for “inappropriate behavior” who was later arrested in connection with the Capitol incursion.
A UCLA spokesman would not confirm that Secor has been a student at the school, saying that “information on this person is not available to the public.”
“What I can tell you is that UCLA believes the Jan. 6 attack at the Capitol was an attack on our democracy,” Bill Kisliuk, director of media relations, said in a written statement. “As an institution, UCLA is committed to mutual respect, making decisions based on evidence and using rational debate — not physical violence.
America First Bruins is not a registered student organization at UCLA, Kisliuk added.
According to the FBI affidavit, Secor may be affiliated with the Groypers and was spotted in a photo at the Capitol with someone widely reported to be a member of the white supremacist group.
The “America First” flag Secor was carrying represents a Groypers subgroup led by ultra-right influencer Nick Fuentes, said Brian Levin, executive director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at Cal State San Bernardino.
“The Groypers cannot stand other conservatives, including Ben Shapiro,” Levin said, referring to the writer whose appearances at UC campuses have led to protests. “They are Holocaust deniers or minimizers. The America First brand is rebranded white nationalism.”
Levin said the number and severity of the charges against Secor suggest that prosecutors consider him a high-value target.
Secor is the second Orange County resident and at least the 12th Californian charged in connection with the breach of the Capitol that resulted in the death of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick and the fatal police shooting of a rioter.
Area residents arrested by federal agents include a Beverly Hills beautician, a Beverly Hills concierge physician, an aspiring actor and the grandson of a former Glendora mayor — some of whom were known for their allegiance to Trump and opposition to pandemic orders.
Southern Californians arrested in the assault on U.S. Capitol include a doctor, salon owner, and actor/model.
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