The Proud Boy who’s facing charges for leading insurrectionists through a window of the U.S. Capitol building had a stash of bomb-making manuals stored on a thumb drive, which investigators say they discovered while searching his home in Rochester, New York.
This was just one of the reasons why federal prosecutors, in a memo filed Friday, are arguing that Dominic Pezzola, aka “Spazzo” or “Spaz,” should remain in detention pending the outcome of his trial.
Prosecutors also said Pezzola seemed only more hungry for violence following the events of Jan. 6 in D.C., which resulted in the deaths of five people and two subsequent suicides among Capitol Police. For example, they pointed to an interview the FBI conducted with a “witness” who was also at the Capitol that day.
Following the attempted insurrection, Pezzola and others had discussed what they’d done that day, according to the witness. “They said that anyone they got their hands on they would have killed, including Nancy Pelosi,” the witness told the FBI. “Members of this group, which included “Spaz,” said that they would have killed [Vice President] Mike Pence if given the chance.”
They immediately began setting their sights on Jan. 20, Inauguration Day. The witness told the FBI that members of the group, including Pezzola, said they planned to “kill every single ‘m-fer’ they can.” The witness said that all of the men involved in the conversation had firearms or access to firearms.
(Gavin McInnes was a co-founder of VICE. He left the company in 2008 and has had no involvement since then. He later founded the Proud Boys in 2016.)
Pezzola returned home to Rochester following the events at the Capitol, according to federal prosecutors. By then, his face was plastered all over the FBI's “most-wanted” lists. Videos showing him smashing the window of the Capitol using a riot shield that prosecutors say he took from a police officer during an earlier scuffle had gone viral. The window Pezzola allegedly smashed was considered the first significant breach of the Capitol; he then helped other rioters climb through the window, who then opened the main doors and allowed the mob through.
On January 12, VICE News identified the wild-eyed, long-haired man in the video as a member of the Proud Boys, a far-right street-fighting gang, who went by the name Spazzo. At some point (it’s not clear whether before or after VICE’s article), Pezzola turned off his phone, cut his hair, shaved his beard, and went on the run. On January 14, the FBI arrived in Rochester and started knocking on the doors of his family members in that area to inquire about his whereabouts. Only then did he eventually turn himself in to authorities, prosecutors say.
When investigators searched Pezzola’s home, they said they found a thumb drive that contained hundreds of .pdfs, in a room that appeared to be used exclusively by him.
“A significant number of those .pdfs provide detailed instructions for making homemade firearms, poisons and/or explosives,” prosecutors wrote. There was one collection named “Advanced Improvised Explosives” which contained titles like “Explosive Dusts” and “Incendiaries.” He also had “The Advanced Anarchist’s Arsenal: Recipes for Improvised Incendiaries and Explosives” and “Ragnar’s Big Book of Homemade Weapons.”
Federal prosecutors, in making their case for why Pezzola should remain in detention, also detailed his movements as he made his way toward the Capitol with the crowd, overwhelming line after line of Capitol Police officers. “The defendant’s actions in breaking the window to the U.S. Capitol, allowing the first group of rioters to stream through, cannot be overstated,” prosecutors wrote. “The defendant’s actions show planning, determination, and coordination.”
“Dominic Pezzola poses a serious danger to the community and a serious risk of flight,” they added. “His stated desire to commit further acts of violence, combined with his access to weapons and bomb-making manuals, is extremely concerning.”
Since Pezzola’s arrest, the FBI has also arrested Joe Biggs, one of the leaders of the Proud Boys. Biggs has insisted that he had zero role in planning the events at the Capitol. The FBI noted in an affidavit that Biggs and Pezzola were wearing similar earpieces and walkie-talkie devices, though they stopped short of asserting that the two men were in communication that day.