Many years later, Pezzola joined the Proud Boys, a far-right street-fighting gang known for street brawls, misogyny, and machismo. The Proud Boys, who usually turn out en masse in their trademark black-and-yellow uniform, have been linked to several acts of violence at pro-Trump protests in Washington, D.C. But on January 6, Pezzola and the rest of the Proud Boys were “incognito”—dressed in plain clothes—with the goal of blending in with the crowd. Pezzola was wearing an inconspicuous grey coat, and an earpiece tucked behind his long hair.
“He was extremely, I don't even want to use the word, conservative, it was just insane,” she said. “The stuff he would post. A lot of it was scary. There was a lot of anger.”Another classmate who remained Facebook friends with Pezzola said that his posts became progressively more extreme over time. “He was angry at Obama. Probably reading too much internet propaganda,” he said. “If I am being honest, I am not that shocked. The views he espoused—this is how this rabbit hole goes.”
Do you have information about the Proud Boys or other extremists’ actions at Capitol Hill? We’d love to hear from you. You can contact Mack Lamoureux and Tess Owen securely on Wire at @mlamoureux and @tesstess, by email at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org, or via Signal or Telegram at 267-713-9832.