Federal authorities detail Capitol breach suspects' Proud Boys link
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Five people prosecutors have linked to a Kansas City metro chapter of the Proud Boys were arrested Thursday on federal charges for their alleged roles in the Jan. 6 breach at the U.S. Capitol, including a retired Marine Corps officer.
A probable cause affidavit filed in the case alleges they conspired to impede certification of the Electoral College vote.
William Norman Chrestman and Christopher Charles Kuehn, both of Olathe, Kansas, and Louis Enrique Colon, of Blue Springs, Missouri, were charged with conspiracy, civil disorder and obstruction of an official proceeding, among other charges. Chrestman also separately faces an additional charge of threatening to assault a federal law enforcement officer.
A probable cause affidavit alleges the three men wore tactical-style gear, including helmets and gloves. Chrestman also arrived with a respirator and a wooden club or axe handle disguised as a flag, and they had a piece of orange tape affixed to a backpack or headgear to distinguish them in the crowd.
Also arrested on similar charges in Arizona were a brother and sister, Felicia and Cory Konold, who prosecutors contend conspired with the Kansas City chapter of the Proud Boys. The siblings, who live in the Tucson area, are accused of conspiring with Chrestman, Kuehne and Colon to interfere with police during the riot.
It’s unclear whether any of the suspects have attorneys. Messages left at telephone numbers for Colon and Kuehne were not immediately returned.
Kuehne's father, Charles Kuehne, said his son was a 22-year Marine Corps veteran who was deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq and retired four or five years ago as a captain. He moved to Olathe to take a railroad management job but was laid off in May 2020.
“That added a lot of stress to his life,” the elder Kuehne said.
He said he and his son never talked about politics before they and his mother had a disagreement in May 2020 about a family matter. They have not spoken since that disagreement, and Kuehne said he was shocked to hear of his son's arrest from an Associated Press reporter, adding, “I'm in tears right now.”
“I can't believe he went to DC,” he said. “It's just unbelievable.”
Video footage captured Chrestman at one point turning to the crowd unlawfully assembled on the Capitol grounds, and shouting: “Whose house is this?” The crowd responded “Our house!” Chrestman shouted, “Do you want your house back?” After the crowd responded, “Yes,” Chrestman shouted back: “Take it!”
The affidavit alleges Chrestman, and the Konold siblings were at or near the front of the crowd at the police barrier after the metal barricades were toppled. They also moved to the front of the crowd after the next police line was overwhelmed.
At one point Chrestman removed the black helmet he was wearing and put on what appears to be a respirator, according to the affidavit. Felicia Konold then helped her brother put on Chrestman's helmet.
Authorities say Cory and Felicia Konold and Chrestman used their hands to dismantle barriers officers were using to try to control the crowd.
Once the five entered the Capitol, Felicia Konold, Chrestman, Kuehne and Colon allegedly took turns preventing metal security barriers in tunnels under the Capitol from closing.
Investigators say Felicia Konold later bragged about the attack in a Snapchat video, saying she had been recruited into the Kansas City chapter. In the post she claimed that even though she was not from Kansas City, she was “with them now.” During a video post, she displayed a two-sided “challenge coin” that appears to have markings that designate it as belonging to the Kansas City Proud Boys, according to the affidavit
The FBI said cellphone data shows the suspects were in and around the Capitol during the insurrection. They say the Konold siblings at one point were seen walking with a group led by organizers of the Proud Boys.
The FBI and U.S. Marshals Service in Arizona didn’t immediately respond to a request for information about the arrests in Arizona. The FBI office in Kansas City said the three suspects arrested in their district were all taken into custody without incident.