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‘Three Percenter’ first to be federally charged with transporting firearm for unlawful use in Capitol riot

·3-min read
Court documents identified Guy Wesley Reffitt in this picture wearing a blue jacket and helmet with Go-Pro camera (YouTube/Reuters)
Court documents identified Guy Wesley Reffitt in this picture wearing a blue jacket and helmet with Go-Pro camera (YouTube/Reuters)

A defendant in the US Capitol insurrection is the first to be charged with the federal crime of transporting a firearm or explosive for unlawful use in a riot.

Guy Wesley Reffitt, 48, from Wylie, Texas, traveled to Washington DC in early January with a rifle and semi-automatic handgun, according to court documents filed this week.

Federal prosecutors say that Mr Reffitt recruited members to a right-wing group called the Texas Three Percenters for the attempted coup.

“We can get ammo and weapons available to law enforcement... The fight has only just begun,” Mr Reffitt is believed to have written, according to Assistant US Attorney Jeffrey S. Nestler.

Three Percenters, also known as “III%ers” or “threepers”, are a band of militia extremists. The group has a history of violent crime, according to the anti-hate organisation ADL.

The group is based on the myth that only three per cent of American colonists took up arms against the British during the American Revolution, according to the affidavit.

“Some III%ers regard the present-day US Government as analogous to British authorities during the Revolution in terms of infringements on civil liberties,” the court papers state.

Prosecutors included in the affidavit stills of footage captured by Reuters news agency which they say show Mr Reffitt taking part in the riot.

“Starting at about 20 seconds into the video, a white male is visible on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol Building, on the north staircase, between the Lower West Terrace and the Middle Landing of the Lower West Terrace,” the document reads.

“The male is wearing a blue jacket over what appears to be a black padded or tactical-style vest, and he has a black helmet on his head with what appears to be a Go-Pro-style camera attached. The male appears to be using a water bottle to flush out his eyes.”

According to prosecutors’ filings, Mr Reffitt said: “I did bring a weapon on property that we own. Federal grounds or not. The law is written, but it doesn’t mean it’s right law. The people that were around me were all carrying, too.”

In December 2020, Mr Reffitt’s relatives had warned law enforcement that he was “going to do some serious damage” against politicians he disliked, NBC reported.

Mr Reffitt pleaded not guilty in March to three charges of obstructing an official proceeding; trespassing on restricted grounds at the US Capitol and tampering with a witness.

Mr Reffitt was arrested in Bonham, Texas in January and remains in custody. His attorney’s request for bail was denied by US District Judge Dabney Friedrich in May.

She said: “Mr. Reffitt backed up his comments with actions. He did, in fact, attempt to recruit new militia members to his cause. And he stated that the events of January 6th were just the preface to what was coming.”

A hearing has been scheduled for 14 July.

The Independent has contacted his attorney, William. L Welch, for comment.

Some 120 people have been charged in connection with the storming of the Capitol during the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory on 6 January. The attack left five people dead, led to assaults on dozens of police officers, and forced lawmakers to be evacuated to safety including former vice president Mike Pence.

Many of those charged for taking part in the riot allegedly carried weapons into the Capitol however the exact number is unknown, say authorities.

Former president Donald Trump was impeached for the second time for inciting violence at the Capitol. He is the only US president to have been impeached twice.

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