Christopher Worrell is a Naples, Florida, member of the Proud Boys group who has gone missing before his federal sentencing on accusations he used pepper spray gel at the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
A missing person posted is stamped “wanted by the FBI.” A judge granted Worrell supervised release under the care of his girlfriend Trish Priller in Naples, Florida, after allegations that his cancer was not properly treated in jail, according to the Naples Daily News.
“Christopher John Worrell is wanted for violating conditions of release pending sentencing on federal charges related to the violence at the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C., on January 6, 2021,” the FBI wrote. “A federal arrest warrant was issued for Worrell in the United States District Court, District of Columbia, Washington, D.C., on August 15, 2023.”
According to NBC News, Worrell disappeared before his sentencing on August 18, 2023; his lawyer declined to comment to NBC, which reported that there is a warrant for Worrell’s arrest. The government is seeking a 14-year prison sentence, NBC News reported.
Worrell is 52 and from East Naples, Florida, according to WGCU.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Government Accused Christopher Worrell of Spraying Pepper Spray Gel, Likely at Law Enforcement
In a statement of facts along with the indictment, the U.S. Department of Justice described Worrell as a member of the Proud Boys group.
The DOJ says that photos of Worrell in Washington D.C. on December 12, 2020, show Worrell “with other individuals. Those individuals are wearing clothing that appears to be affiliated with the Proud Boys (including, for example, a helmet and hat with ‘PB’ emblazoned on them; and the Fred Perry yellow and black laurel wreath insignia that is now commonly worn by members of the Proud Boys.”
According to the statement of facts, Worrell “appears to be wearing a Proud Boy patch on his tactical vest.” The government accused Worrell of wearing “this same or a nearly identical tactical vest at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.”
The government accused Worrell of being seen in photographs “on the West Side of the U.S. Capitol Building” in a restricted area. The statement of facts also contains a photo the government says shows Worrell “spraying pepper spray gel in the direction off-camera near the steps leading into the U.S. Capitol Building.”
The statement notes, “I do not currently know with certainty the target at which Worrell was spraying. However, in other photographs and videos from that time of day, law enforcement officers are positioned where Worrell appears to be spraying pepper spray.” However, it continues, after detailed analysis of other photos:
Based on these photographs placing Worrell at a time when law enforcement officers appear to have been located in the direction where he was spraying, and the fact that rioters sprayed pepper spray at law enforcement officers on numerous occasions at this general location in the minutes surrounding this time, I believe the likely intended target of Worrell’s pepper spray assault was the line of law enforcement officers present in these photographs.
The statement of facts says that a video filmed in Naples, Florida, at the Mercato Shopping Mall shows Worrell “talking with Enrique Tarrio, the leader of the Proud Boys.”
2. The Judge Previously Said It Was Clear That Christopher Worrell’s Civil Rights Were Violated in the Jail
According to the Suffolk Times, in 2021, Worrell was granted supervised release “so he can seek medical treatment he said he was not receiving while in jail awaiting trial.” That newspaper said he is a graduate of Greenport High School.
The newspaper reported that Worrell “said he has been treated for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma since 2007 and also had a hand injury that required surgery.” He accused the government of denying him treatment.
“Mr. Worrell is still being detained without access to proper medical treatment of his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma,” his attorney wrote, according to the Suffolk Times. “As time progresses, Mr. Worrell is experiencing a rapid deterioration to his physical and mental health, and his cancer is spreading.” He also contracted COVID-19 in jail, Suffolk Times reported.
The site reported that U.S. District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth allowed his release to Naples under his girlfriend’s supervision.
According to Law and Crime, the judge also found two jail officials in contempt of court for not providing “medical notes” about Worrell’s treatment.
The judge asked U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate for possible civil rights violations, according to Law and Crime.
“It’s clear to me the civil rights of the defendant were violated by the D.C. Department of Corrections,” Lamberth said, according to the Washington Post. “I don’t know if it’s because he’s a January 6 defendant or not.”
In 2021, the U.S. Marshal’s Service inspected the jail and found that “conditions there do not meet the minimum standards of confinement as prescribed by the Federal Performance-Based Detention Standard,” a report says.
3. Christopher Worrell’s Guardian Was His Girlfriend Trish Priller, Who Was Photographed With Former President Donald Trump Last March, Reports Say
According to WUSF, Trish Priller of Naples “was appointed Worrell’s guardian by the court and is described as his significant other.”
According to the Naples Daily News, Priller “was among more than a dozen guests on March 22 at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach” in March 2023. The newspaper reported that the trial was delayed previously because Worrell had more health issues.
“As far as the delay for the trial, Chris was brought by ambulance to the hospital as he passed out and hit his head on the bathroom counter and then again on the tile floor at church,” she told the newspaper.
On Facebook, Priller posted a picture with former President Donald Trump from last March.
In March 2023, she posted a graphic that read, “Trump won,” and wrote, “When they arrest Trump on Tuesday the MAGA base will explode and guarantee his win in 2024!!” She has also shared a graphic referring to the “January 6 lie.”
Her LinkedIn page says that Priller has worked in the executive offices of the Naples Daily News.
Priller told then Fox News host Tucker Carlson of Worrell, “He’s doing okay since he’s been home. He’s had some major medical issues. He’s had five rounds of chemotherapy. He’s had major oral surgery, which he’s still recovering from.”
The DOJ says that, on January 18, 2021, an FBI agent interviewed Worrell and “asked him whether he had participated in the U.S. Capitol riots on January 6, 2021 and whether he had any information on any known, planned violence in relation to the upcoming Presidential Inauguration on January 20, 2021.”
The statement of facts accuses Worrell of being “extremely agitated and upset that the FBI was at his house. He eventually admitted that he was at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, but denied entering the U.S. Capitol building, and specifically denied any other wrongdoing or criminal conduct on his part.”
The statement of facts says that Worrell also “became agitated when asked about the Proud Boys. Worrell stated that ‘the Proud Boys were not a racist white supremacist group like the media tries to portray.'”
4. The Judge Convicted Christopher Worrell After a Bench Trial
According to WGCU, Worrell opted for a bench trial and was found guilty by a judge on counts that included:
Obstruction of an Official Proceeding and Aiding and Abetting; Disorderly and Disruptive Conduct in a Restricted Building or Grounds with a Deadly or Dangerous Weapon; Engaging in Physical Violence in a Restricted Building or Grounds Using a Deadly or Dangerous Weapon; Entering and Remaining in a Restricted Building or Grounds with a Deadly or Dangerous Weapon; Engaging in Physical Violence in a Restricted Building or Grounds Using a Deadly or Dangerous Weapon; Act of Physical Violence in the Capitol Grounds or Buildings; Civil Disorder; and Assaulting, Resisting, or Impeding Certain Officers Using a Dangerous Weapon.
“The evidence demonstrates that Mr. Worrell traveled to Washington, D.C., for the purpose of ensuring that the Electoral College Certification of President Biden failed,” Lamberth said in a ruling, according to NBC.
5. A Tipster With a ‘Mutual Acquaintance’ With Christopher Worrell’s Girlfriend Told Authorities That He Is a Proud Boy Who Traveled to Washington D.C. on January 6, 2021, Authorities Say
According to a statement of facts posted by the U.S. Department of Justice, on January 13, 2021, a tipster (T-1) “contacted FBI personnel to report that s/he believed that Christopher WORRELL traveled to and potentially participated in the riot at the U.S.
Capitol on January 6, 2021.”
The DOJ wrote, “T-1 relayed that s/he has a mutual acquaintance with Christopher WORRELL’s live-in girlfriend, and that this live-in girlfriend had relayed to the acquaintance that WORRELL is a Proud Boy and that he and the live-in girlfriend traveled to Washington D.C. to be there on January 6, 2021.”
The tipster “also advised that s/he observed a video on WORRELL’s Facebook page that showed WORRELL participating in the riots at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. By the time T-1 provided the link to this video to the FBI, the video had been taken down or was not viewable to those who were not ‘friends’ with WORRELL on Facebook.”