John Earle Sullivan, who has advocated for an armed revolution on social media, was arrested in July 2020 for making a threat of violence and criminal mischief. He organized a protest with Black Lives Matter activists and members of the far-left Antifa network. According to the Deseret News, Sullivan damaged vehicles and urged people to block roadways. Video footage captured him threatening to beat a woman.
Photographs showed Sullivan inside the Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6. Sullivan has since given interviews claiming he took part in the illegal breach of the building as part of an effort to understand supporters of President Donald Trump.
“For me, it’s important from the group and the people around me to see that side of things, to see the truth,” Sullivan told KSL-TV. “I don’t care, like what side you’re on, you should just see it raw.”
Sullivan has not been charged with unlawful entry or any other charges that police say other people who entered the building face. His picture is not among those circulated by authorities of persons of interest in the incident. Sullivan said he was detained on Thursday night and questioned about what he saw during the storming of the Capitol. The Metropolitan Police Department didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Police said Thursday that 68 people had been arrested in the city, including 41 on Capitol grounds. Charges included unlawful entry and unlawful possession of a firearm, according to arrest data.
“Protesters weren’t really, like, trying to burn anything down, they weren’t really trying to break anything, their main motive was to make it into the chambers,” Sullivan told KUTV. “Those protesters got really angry and busted through those officers really quickly, and yeah, you could really freely move around, you could go into any room and look out the window, so it was really surreal to see,” he added.
Sullivan recounted being near the woman who was shot dead by a U.S. Capitol Police officer.
“There was a glass wall, and she, the woman, was the first person to actually try to get inside,” Sullivan told KSL. “All you see is hands come out the doorways with their guns. … You don’t see their face, nothing. And I literally yell at everybody else, ‘There’s a gun! There’s a gun! Don’t go in there!’ And a shot goes off. And she gets shot as soon as she goes through.”
The U.S. Capitol Police said Thursday that one of its officers fired the shot that killed the woman, identified as Ashli Babbitt.
The officer was placed on administrative leave pending a joint investigation conducted by the agency and the Metropolitan Police Department.
Other people who stormed the Capitol have been identified as supporters of President Donald Trump. That includes Rick Saccone, a former member of the House of Representatives, Derrick Evans, a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates, and Kristina Malimon, part of the Young Republicans of Oregon’s leadership.