5th Active-Duty Service Member Arrested on Jan. 6 Charges

David Elizalde, circled in red, appears on security video inside the U.S. Capitol.
In this image from U.S. Capitol Police video, released and annotated by the Justice Department in the Statement of Facts supporting an arrest warrant, David Elizalde, circled in red, appears on security video inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (Justice Department via AP)

The Department of Justice has arrested an active-duty Navy sailor on charges stemming from his activity at the U.S. Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021.

David Elizalde was arrested by the FBI on Sunday in Arlington, Virginia, on four federal misdemeanor charges, including disorderly conduct inside the Capitol building, according to court documents.

Elizalde is now the fifth active-duty service member to be arrested by federal law enforcement for participating in the rioting and destruction of Jan. 6 that was aimed at preventing the peaceful transfer of power after President Joe Biden won the 2020 election.

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According to the criminal complaint in his case, Elizalde drove up on Jan. 5, 2021, to a Virginia suburb of Washington, D.C., from Norfolk, where his aircraft carrier, the USS Harry Truman, was docked. The next day, the sailor told investigators he moved with the crowd toward the Capitol.

"He walked around the scaffolding and found a set of stairs leading up to the U.S. Capitol, which were not blocked by barricades, that he walked up," the complaint said.

Despite telling investigators that he "observed people in the crowd causing property damage and people waving flags," he entered the building through an open set of doors. According to the complaint, images later taken from Elizalde's phone show that he was in the building for around three minutes before leaving.

Elizalde was first approached by investigators from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service in December 2021 and was next interviewed in April 2022.

According to data provided by the Navy, Elizalde, a petty officer first class, is an aviation structural mechanic who is currently stationed at a maintenance department in Rota, Spain.

He enlisted in June 2007 and served aboard the aircraft carriers USS Eisenhower and USS Harry Truman. His service record also shows that he earned four Navy and Marine Corps Achievement medals and five Good Conduct Medals, as well as several unit awards.

Elizalde's arrest makes him the fifth active-duty service member to be arrested over the attack on the Capitol.

Months before investigators first approached Elizalde in 2021, the FBI arrested Marine Maj. Christopher Warnagiris on nine charges. The Marine Corps eventually decided to separate the officer in December 2021, and he ended his service a year and a day after he walked into the Capitol.

More recently, three enlisted Marines with jobs in the intelligence community were also arrested by federal investigators.

Prosecutors claim in court documents that the trio spent just under an hour milling about the Capitol, including the Rotunda, where they put "a red MAGA hat on one of the statues to take photos with it."

Elizalde joins 12 other service members -- active, reserve and National Guard -- who have been arrested for alleged crimes stemming from Jan. 6. Two other men were booted from basic training as their investigations unfolded.

According to the George Washington University's Project on Extremism, out of the 968 defendants charged with crimes stemming from Jan. 6, 131, or 13%, have some form of military background

-- Konstantin Toropin can be reached at konstantin.toropin@military.com. Follow him on Twitter @ktoropin.

Related: 3 Active-Duty Marines Who Work in Intelligence Arrested for Alleged Participation in Jan. 6 Riot

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