In a beat-up red pickup parked near the U.S. Capitol last week, cops found a horror trove of weapons and ammo, alongside names of prominent right-wing leaders like Sen. Ted Cruz and Fox News host Sean Hannity and their publicly-available phone numbers.
Photos released Tuesday of the haul from the GMC Sierra owned by Lonnie Leroy Coffman show just what investigators are up against as they launch a massive nationwide dragnet to arrest the people who attacked the Capitol Building last Wednesday in a violent siege that resulted in five deaths.
Next to the guns, ammo, crossbow, machetes, and Molotov cocktails in the pickup, officials also found handwritten lists that included a Democratic congressman identified as a “muslim,” and a federal judge labeled a “bad guy.”
Prosecutors released the info and photos in a court filing supporting their argument that Coffman, 70, should be denied bail as a flight risk. They said he would pose a danger to the community if he were released.
The Alabama resident was arrested on the evening of the Capitol riots, Jan. 6, and has been charged with 17 counts of illegal weapons violations, including possession of an unregistered firearm and unlawful possession of ammunition. The pickup truck was parked near the Republican National Club, and a few blocks from the Democratic National Committee Headquarters. Coffman was apprehended returning to the vehicle as the riot was winding down on Capitol Hill.
The lists of names and the pile of weapons underscores concerns about the link between fiery right-wing rhetoric about unfounded election fraud and last week’s deadly violence. The violence on Capitol Hill erupted immediately after President Trump held a rally on the National Mall, just as Congress was about to start officially ratifying the Electoral College votes, and urged his followers to “fight much harder” to help him secure a second term, even though he lost the 2020 election.
Cruz has been criticized for promoting Trump’s election lies and helping to stoke right-wing anger at Democrats over phony voter fraud allegations. He spearheaded a group of GOP senators in challenging electors for President-elect Joe Biden that afternoon.
Along with Cruz and Hannity, the list found in the truck also includes the name of Fox News host Mark Levin. President Trump’s personal attorney, Jay Sekulow, also appears in the notes, next to a call-in number associated with Sekulow’s talk radio show. Democratic Rep. Andre Carson of Indiana is listed next to the line: “one of two muslims in House of Reps.”
The vehicle also held mason jars stuffed with what officials have described as “homemade napalm,” or gasoline mixed with melted styrofoam.
“The Molotov cocktail components were created so as to be particularly lethal, with a napalm substance inside that would stick to the target and continue to burn,” prosecutors wrote. “The defendant had hundreds of rounds of ammunition, each of which could cost a human life. The pickup truck was parked in close proximity to the U.S. Capitol Building. And the handwritten messages in the defendant’s pickup truck raise grave concerns about his intentions, and suggest that these weapons were intended to be used in an effort to violently attack our elected representatives.”
In the truck, officials found:
—a loaded 9 mm Hi-Point handgun
—a loaded Windham Weaponry rifle
—a loaded Hatfield Gun Company SAS shotgun
—several large-capacity ammunition-feeding devices loading with more than 10 rounds of rifle ammunition
—hundreds of rounds of ammunition
—a crossbow with bolts
—camouflage smoke devices
—a stun gun
—11 mason jars containing a flammable liquid, with a hole punched in the top of each jar and lighters and rags
“The amount of weapons suggests an intent to provide them to others, as no one person could reasonably use so many at once,” prosecutors wrote. “In the end, this is a defendant with access to firearms and numerous other lethal weapons, dangerous incendiary mixtures creating napalm, who appears to have been motivated to conduct violence against our elected representatives.”