Riverside man arrested in Capitol riot after employer identifies him in news photo
A Riverside man who believes in QAnon and other conspiracy theories was arrested Thursday on suspicion of participating in the Jan. 6 siege of the U.S. Capitol, authorities said.
Andrew Alan Hernandez, 44, was shouting and carrying an American flag at the moment when Capitol security video captured him and fellow rioters violently pushing their way into the building, according to an FBI statement.
The mob was trying to stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s victory over Donald Trump in the presidential election.
Hernandez had a GoPro camera zip-tied to the flag pole, according to the statement by FBI agent Richard Migliara. He was wearing a hat and shirt bearing the name and logo of the Riverside company where he worked, Milagra said in the statement filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.
After the company received a complaint from someone who noticed the clothing in a photo published in the New York Times, a manager recognized Hernandez. He was fired “for misrepresenting the company in illegal activities,” the FBI statement said.
The affidavit included multiple photos purporting to show Hernandez in the Capitol on Jan. 6, along with social media posts on his beliefs in various conspiracy theories. In one Twitter post, Hernandez said the U.S. would turn into “a tyrannical dictatorship” if Americans failed to fight attempts to “steal the vote” from Trump.
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.
“Fight Fight Fight,” he wrote.
The posts show that Hernandez believes in “Q-Anon, health and science related conspiracies, financial conspiracies, and various conspiracies associated to U.S. political figures,” the FBI statement said.
Hernandez tweeted a photo of a burning “Q” — a symbol associated with QAnon — over a United States seal. Hernandez’s postings also heaped praise on Trump, according to the FBI. “You are the Greatest President These United States of American Has Had!” one of his tweets said.
The student was captured on video sitting in the chair Vice President Mike Pence vacated after a pro-Trump mob broke into the Capitol, the FBI said.
Hernandez is one of a dozen Californians among the more than 200 people arrested on charges related to the assault on the Capitol. He was charged with obstruction of justice or Congress, two counts of entering a restricted building without legal authorization and two counts of violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
Andrew Byrd, Hernandez’s lawyer, had no immediate response to a request for comment. But in a Los Angeles federal court hearing conducted by remote video, Byrd said Hernandez “no longer adheres to the ideology that’s been alleged to him in the complaint.”
U.S. Magistrate Judge Kenly Kiya Kato asked Hernandez whether he understood the charges.
“Yes, I understand what the government thinks,” he replied from the unnamed site where he was incarcerated.
Kato also asked Hernandez whether he had any question about her authority to set his conditions of release while awaiting trial.
“No,” he said.
Assistant U.S. Atty. Jeremiah Levine told the court that Hernandez for years had obsessed for hours every day “with his conspiracy theories.”
He also said a search of Hernandez’s home had found the same kind of zip ties that were carried by others in the Capitol riot — the type that police use as physical restraints.
The judge agreed to release Hernandez on a $50,000 bond.
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