WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Jacob Fracker, an off duty police officer charged in connection with the violent riots at the U.S. Capitol, is a member of the Virginia National Guard, an official said on Thursday, becoming the first known person currently in the military to be arrested over last week’s events.
President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, forcing lawmakers to flee the inner chambers of the building, fearing for their lives.
On Wednesday, the Department of Justice said Fracker, along with another off duty police officer, Thomas Robertson, were charged after they were photographed inside the Capitol “making an obscene statement in front of a statue of (Revolutionary hero) John Stark.”
On Thursday, the Virginia National Guard said Fracker is a corporal in the State’s Guard and serves as an infantryman.
“The Virginia National Guard will conduct an investigation into the matter, and we will be able to release more information when that is complete,” it said in a statement.
Fracker was not on duty with other members of the Virginia National Guard helping protect President-elect Joe Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration, the Guard added.
The disclosure, first reported by Military.com, comes the same day a senior official said there had been an increase in extremism in the United States military over the past year.
Five people including a police officer died as a result of the attack on the Capitol. The assault marks a critical moment for extremists who have seized on false claims, spread by Trump, that the U.S. election system is fraudulent and rigged.
“I think there is an increase (in extremism) based on the societal increases,” the senior official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told reporters.
The official added there was also an increase because of more reporting in the military, and said the military was tracking down leads.
(Reporting by Idrees Ali and Phil Stewart in Washington; Editing by Matthew Lewis and Lincoln Feast.)