FBI probe into Capitol riot activity lands in O.C. again, with UCLA student arrested in Costa Mesa
An ongoing search by the FBI for participants in the Jan. 6 attacks at the U.S. Capitol again brought agents to Orange County Tuesday, this time to a residential complex in Costa Mesa.
Christian Alexander Secor, 22, was arrested in an early morning raid and charged with suspicion of civil disorder and aiding and abetting, obstructing an official proceeding, entering and remaining on restricted grounds, violent entry or disorderly conduct and assaulting, resisting or impeding officers.
FBI agents, who had placed Secor under surveillance from Jan. 25 to 28, executed a search warrant Tuesday and arrested him, according to agency spokeswoman Laura Eimiller. Secor reportedly attends UCLA as an undergraduate student and is founder of the now-defunct America First Bruins club.
According to an affidavit filed Saturday with the U.S. District Court, Secor allegedly entered the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6 and was caught by news and closed-circuit television cameras in several areas, including the Senate chamber, where he sat in the chair of the presiding officer.
Footage shows Secor wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat and carrying a large blue “America First” flag affixed to a white pole, an FBI special agent testified in the affidavit.
He was among a group of rioters seen on video provided by the U.S. Capitol Police attempting to push through a doorway to the Rotunda blocked by at least three officers. Once the doors were breached, “dozens of additional rioters flooded into the building,” according to the agent’s testimony.
“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 agent testified. “Law enforcement’s efforts to keep out the additional rioters were frustrated by the crowd inside pushing on the doors, including Secor.”
The special agent reported speaking with at least 11 individual tipsters, including current UCLA students, who positively identified Secor as an undergraduate student and founder of America First Bruins and who shared an alias of his, “Scuffed Elliot Rodger,” with investigators.
Elliot Rodger is a gunman who, in 2014, killed six people and injured 14 others in a rampage near UC Santa Barbara before taking his own life. Rodgers’ YouTube videos and manifesto are thought to have inspired a 25-year-old man to drive a van onto a crowded sidewalk in Toronto in 2018, killing 10.
Tipsters provided images of Secor taken at a recent Huntington Beach rally that FBI agents matched to the images captured on film on Jan. 6 and a copy of his California driver’s license photo, according to the affidavit.
One UCLA student who knew Secor said he’d moved in with his mother in Costa Mesa upon returning from Washington, D.C., in January, saying he “got rid of his phone and car and bragged that he would not be caught for his involvement at the U.S. Capitol.”
Agents verified Secor’s association with America First Bruins and the campus’ Republican Club, tying him to multiple anti-Semitic and nationalist statements on social media and at least one podcast founder “known for making racist statements and denying the Holocaust,” the document indicated.
UCLA spokesman Bill Kisliuk on Wednesday said he could not comment on Secor’s student status and confirmed America First Bruins is not currently a registered student group on campus. However, he did not respond to follow-up questions about whether the club was ever active or if officials participated in the FBI’s investigation.
Although several social media users reported Secor’s posts and activities to campus administrators in 2020 and 2021 by tagging them individually and collectively, Kisliuk did not indicate whether the reports were ever followed up on.
Meanwhile, Secor made his initial appearance in a federal courtroom in Santa Ana on Tuesday following his arrest, according to Eimiller.
“He was ordered detained by the judge, so he was not granted bail,” she said.
Thom Mrozek, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office, confirmed Wednesday Secor was being held without bond and has been transported to Washington, D.C., at the order of the U.S. Marshals Service.
No future court dates have been scheduled at this time, Mrozek wrote in an email.
Secor is the second person to be arrested by the FBI in Orange County following the Jan. 6 attack, according to a database maintained by the U.S. Department of Justice. Mark Simon was taken into custody Jan. 28 at a Huntington Beach residence after agents connected social media posts of him at the Capitol building at the time of the attack.
Simon went before a federal judge the day of his arrest and was released on bond in advance of a Feb. 3 virtual hearing in federal court in Washington, D.C., records show.
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