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Former Florida GOP candidate arrested in storming of U.S. Capitol

“We just went ahead and stormed the Capitol. It’s about to get ugly,” he says in a Facebook video he recorded.
Gabriel Garcia made his first appearance in federal court Tuesday. He is being charged with engaging in acts of civil disorder, entering restricted grounds and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
Gabriel Garcia made his first appearance in federal court Tuesday. He is being charged with engaging in acts of civil disorder, entering restricted grounds and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. [ Miami Herald via Twitter ]
Published Jan. 19

A Miami member of the extremist Proud Boys group who once ran unsuccessfully for elected office was arrested early Tuesday on allegations he took part in the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol.

Gabriel Garcia made his first appearance in federal court Tuesday as a criminal complaint against him was unsealed. He is being charged with engaging in acts of civil disorder, entering restricted grounds and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.

According to a criminal complaint, Garcia, 40, recorded and uploaded a series of Facebook videos of himself inside the Capitol along with others in the mob.

“We just went ahead and stormed the Capitol. It’s about to get ugly,” he says in the video.

The complaint alleges that Garcia yelled at U.S. Capitol police, calling them “f---ing traitors” and “USA! Storm this sh-t!”

In one video, he also yells out “Nancy come out and play!” — an apparent reference to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is a frequent target of supporters of President Donald Trump. He also says “Free Enrique,” a reference to Enrique Tarrio, the Miami leader of the Proud Boys who was arrested days before the insurrection in Washington, D.C., according to the complaint.

Last year, Garcia ran for Florida House District 116 as a Trump backer. He described himself as a “lifelong, loyal Republican” in challenging incumbent Daniel Perez.

Garcia, a U.S. Army captain who won 41 percent of the vote in his unsuccessful challenge of Perez, later told the Herald that descriptions of the Proud Boys as a hate group are lies.

“I’m upset we were called a hate group (in the debate) when you have antifa beating up on elderly people coming out of Trump rallies, burning down police cars,” he said of the anti-fascism protest movement marked by outbursts of violence on the left. “You’ll never see any of us do that.”

Garcia also made the news when, in October, he interrupted a speech in West Miami-Dade by Kamala Harris, now the vice president-elect.

Garcia was the second South Floridian arrested on Tuesday. According to federal authorities, Felipe Marquez, of Coral Springs, was charged after agents said Snapchat videos showed him entering the Capitol while smoking from a vape pen. Video showed he also entered an office belonging to Sen. Jeff Merkley, of Oregon, according to a criminal complaint.

Merkley later posted a video to Twitter that appeared to document damage to his office.

• • •

Tampa Bay Times U.S. Capitol coverage

REACTING TO RESPONSE : Did race play a role in police treatment of the U.S. Capitol mob?

CALL TO ACTION: Charlie Crist: Remove Donald Trump from office by invoking 25th Amendment

25TH AMENDMENT: When can it be used against a president?

EDITORIAL: The ugly spectacle perfectly captured the Trump-era GOP.

CLASSROOM TOPICS: Tampa Bay teachers, parents brace for tough conversations after U.S. Capitol siege

POLITIFACT FACT-CHECKS THE SIEGE: Here’s a look at the day’s short session, and the chaos that interrupted it.

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