Thomas Baranyi was arrested following a video interview with a news reporter discussing how he allegedly stormed the U.S. Capitol and showed blood on his hands which he said was from Ashli Babbitt, a protester who was gunned down in the siege.
Baranyi, 28, said on the video he was standing beside Babbitt when she was shot and that she fell on him. You can watch the video here or below. Baranyi was charged with disorderly or disruptive conduct, according to the affidavit of probable cause filed in his case.
NJ.com reported Baranyi was a member of the Peace Corps.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Baranyi Described Babbitt’s Last Moments As She Was Gunned Down Beside Him in the U.S. Capitol
Very important video.
1. He gives his name as Thomas Barani (spelling?) of New Jersey.
2. He admits to not only storming the Capitol, but breaking deep into the halls of Congress.
3. He saw Ashli Babbitt get killed and explains precisely what got her killed. pic.twitter.com/yoUP6WLySC
— Shaun King (@shaunking) January 7, 2021
Video of Babbitt’s shooting widely circulated online. She was a 35-year-old Air Force veteran from San Diego, California. You can watch graphic video of the shooting here. A man matching Baranyi’s description can be seen in the video attempting to move Babbitt from the ground in the immediate moments after the shooting.
Former U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund confirmed in a statement that Babbitt was shot by a member of his police force. That officer, who has not been named, was placed on administrative leave pending further investigation.
Baranyi spoke to WUSA-9 in the interview, a Washington, D.C. station. In the interview, the reporter asked Baranyi how he got the blood on his hand.
“[w]e had stormed into the chambers inside and there was a young lady who rushed through the windows. A number of police and Secret Service were saying get down, get out of the way. She didn’t heed the call and as we kind of raced up to try to grab people and pull them back, they shot her in the neck, and she fell back on me,” he said in the interview. “She started to say, she was fine, it’s cool, and then she started kind of like, moving weird, and blood was coming out of her mouth and neck and nose, and I don’t know if she’s alive or dead anymore.”
2. Baranyi Said Protesters Tore Through Scaffolding Because They Wanted an Investigation Into Allegations of Voter Fraud
Thomas Baranyi, a 28-year-old New Jersey man who was standing next to the woman who died in last week’s storming of the Capitol, was arrested by the FBI…https://t.co/qCJ2dWwYZf
I see serious compassion written all over his face. A sensitive guy to be sure. pic.twitter.com/TbO4O3eonL
— DEHancock (@DavidKY2R) January 13, 2021
Baranyi told the WUSA-9 reporter about why he and other protesters sieged the Capitol, saying he wanted officials to investigate allegations of voter fraud. In the interview, he discussed his alleged actions at the protest. FBI agents quoted his interview describing his activities in the affidavit of probable cause filed in his case.
“We tore through the scaffolding, through flash bangs and tear gas, and blitzed our way in through all the chambers just trying to get into Congress or whoever we could get in to and tell them that we need some kind of investigation into this, and what ends up happening is someone might have ended up dead, and that’s not the kind of government we can have,” he said in the interview. “People have to do something about it.”
“Just make sure people know, because this,” he said while turning to point behind him, “This cannot stand anymore. This is wrong. They don’t represent anyone. Not republican, democrat, independent, nobody. And now they’ll just kill people.”
3. Baranyi Was Released & His Case Was Moved to Washington, D.C.
This man claims to have accompanied her into the capitol, so he might be useful to watch for in videos too. pic.twitter.com/2rNVJa4R3G
— Nick Waters (@N_Waters89) January 7, 2021
Baranyi appeared by video for a hearing in Newark, New Jersey before U.S. District Judge Cathy Waldor on Tuesday, January 12, 2021, according to NJ.com.
Waldor set his bail at $100,000 unsecured, meaning he was not required to post bail as a condition of his release. Baranyi was released and the case was moved to Washington, D.C., where the cases involving the Capitol siege will be handled.
The news outlet reported he was represented by a federal public defender at his initial court appearance, but court filings indicated he had retained counsel.
4. Baranyi Was a Volunteer With the Peace Corps & Attended Basic Training With the Marine Corps
Guys, his name is Thomas BARANYI! He is from Hamilton, NJ. I went to high school with him, this is his yearbook photo! Please get this out so they can find him!!!! I believe he still lives in Hamilton, NJ. pic.twitter.com/CpR8kCOtzi
— Ursula Recktenwald (@UrsulaReck__) January 7, 2021
Baranyi was a volunteer with the Peace Corps, serving in Albania. He also attended basic training for the Marine Corps, but was discharged. He attended The College of New Jersey, his father wrote on Facebook.
“He graduated Trenton State College ( college of nj ) went in to Peace Corps in Albania, got discharged, went into Basic Training USMC, got discharged from basic training. Covid related?” the post said.
In the post, Baranyi’s dad shared a photo of Thomas Baranyi from 2017.
“So to all Merry Christmas and 2020 has been a bad year. Merry Christmas Tommy Dad still loves and misses you. Tell him I said that,” the post concluded.
5. Baranyi Said ‘It Could Have Been Me’ & ‘This Could Be You or Your Kids’
The FBI published stills from videos in court filings, which agents say shows Baranyi adjacent to Babbitt as she entered a window in the U.S. Capitol immediately before she was shot.
Baranyi concluded his video interview by saying that it could have been him who was shot, but said that Babbitt went through the window first.
“It could have been me, but she went in first. It was one of us,” he said.
He went on to say that the shooting could have been anyone.
“It was a joke to them until we got inside and then guns came out, but we’re at a point now, it can’t be allowed to stand. We have to do something. People have to do something,” he said, and held up his bloody hand again, “because this could be you or your kids.”