A youth pastor has been arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for his alleged participation in the riot at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.
According to The Christian Post, the pastor, 33-year-old Tyler Earl Ethridge, was arrested in Colorado on Friday on charges of felony civil disorder and other misdemeanors. The FBI became aware of Ethridge's alleged involvement in the attack after someone he knew from Charis Bible College in Woodland Park, Colorado, sent a tip into the organization.
In a Friday statement, the Department of Justice noted that Ethridge was among the rioters who removed the fencing surrounding the Capitol, pushed past the barricades to the West Plaza and eventually entered the Capitol building.
"He helped remove fencing erected on the northwest approach to the Capitol. He proceeded with the crowd past the barricades to the West Plaza outside the Capitol Building. As law enforcement officers attempted to clear the crowd, Ethridge climbed a media scaffolding and exhorted the crowd to keep fighting," the statement said.
"He entered the Capitol Building at approximately 2:35 p.m. through the West Terrace Door. He then moved to the Rotunda, where he filmed several videos that he posted to social media. In one, he stated, 'I'm probably going to lose my job as a pastor after this … I think we're to a point where talk is cheap. If this makes me lose my, my reputation, I don't care,'" the statement added.
Ethridge later left the Rotunda and "joined a crowd of rioters between the Rotunda and Senate Chamber," where law enforcement officers "ordered them to disperse."
Ethridge and others allegedly refused to leave but were eventually pushed out of the hallway. Ethridge then returned to the Rotunda and left the Capitol building. All told, he was inside the Capitol for around 30 minutes, the Justice Department said.
After January 6, Ethridge not only posted several videos of his involvement in the riot, but she also urged others who participated not to "be afraid" of being charged with a crime.
"On September 24, 2021, he wrote, "Don't be afraid of what they sentence you with. I'm not. I'm ready for whatever I'll be charged with. America is still primed and ready."
According to a "Statement of Facts" sheet published by the DOJ, during the attack, Ethridge was also quoted as saying, "Christians, we need to infiltrate every area of society like this. Every area of society like this. Peacefully. But if it takes a little bit of aggression to barge through the walls that Satan separates us from the culture, it's time for the body of Christ to infiltrate the culture."
Etheridge also allegedly claimed that the 2020 presidential election was "stolen."
According to The Gazette, at the time of the riot, Ethridge was a youth pastor at Christ-Center Church of Tampa in Dover, Florida. On January 19, however, it was announced that Ethridge was no longer with the church.
So far, around 850 people have been arrested for their involvement in the January 6 riot, and over 260 have been charged with crimes, The Christian Post reports.
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Kayla Koslosky has been the Editor of ChristianHeadlines.com since 2018. She has B.A. degrees in English and History and previously wrote for and was the managing editor of the Yellow Jacket newspaper. She has also contributed to IBelieve.com and Crosswalk.com.