Air Force veteran identified as zip-tie-touting Capitol intruder

"I felt like it was important, because of how much I love this country, to actually be there"

A decorated Air Force combat veteran has been identified as one of the hundreds of pro-Trump insurrectionists who invaded Capitol Hill on Wednesday.

Retired Lt. Col. Larry Rendall Brock, Jr. was photographed decked out in a combat helmet and other tactical gear and gripping a ream of zip-tie handcuffs on the floor of the Senate chamber on Jan. 6 after hundreds of pro-Trump insurrectionists entered the Capitol building to stop the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral victory.

First identified by Citizen Lab researcher John Scott-Railton and reported by the New Yorker magazine, an Air Force spokesman confirmed that Brock was in fact an Air Force veteran.

“This individual is no longer serving in the Air Force Reserve. He retired in 2014,” Air Force spokesperson Ann Stefanek told the magazine. “As a private citizen, the Air Force no longer has jurisdiction over him.” 

A former chief operations inspector and flight commander with the 706th Fighter Squadron based out of Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada according to a now-deleted LinkedIn profile, Brock told the New Yorker that he deployed to both Afghanistan and Iraq and earned three Meritorious Service Medals, six Air Medals, and three Aerial Achievement Medals.

Here’s Brock’s account of entering the Capitol, as he told The New Yorker:

In an interview, Brock confirmed that he was the man in the photos and videos. He denied that he held racist views and echoed Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud, saying that he derived his understanding of the matter principally from social media. He told me that he had gone to Washington, D.C., to demonstrate peacefully. “The President asked for his supporters to be there to attend, and I felt like it was important, because of how much I love this country, to actually be there,” he said. Brock added that he did not identify as part of any organized group and claimed that, despite the scenes of destruction that day, he had seen no violence. When he arrived at the Capitol, he said, he assumed he was welcome to enter the building.

Brock denied that he had entered Pelosi’s office suite, saying that he “stopped five to ten feet ahead of the sign” bearing her title that insurrectionists later tore down and brandished. However, in the ITV video, he appears to emerge from the suite. Brock said that he had worn tactical gear because “I didn’t want to get stabbed or hurt,” citing “B.L.M. and Antifa” as potential aggressors. He claimed that he had found the zip-tie handcuffs on the floor. “I wish I had not picked those up,” he told me. “My thought process there was I would pick them up and give them to an officer when I see one. . . . I didn’t do that because I had put them in my coat, and I honestly forgot about them.” He also said that he was opposed to vandalizing the building, and was dismayed when he learned of the extent of the destruction. “I know it looks menacing,” he told me. “That was not my intent.”

Brock is the second confirmed Air Force veteran who was present at the Capitol during Wednesday’s unprecedented breach: Ashli Babbitt, a retired Air Force security forces member, was shot and killed by a member of the U.S. Capitol Police while trying to break through a security line.

Read more about Brock in the New Yorker here.

Related: Here are the current and former military leaders blasting Trump over the Capitol riots

Jared Keller

Jared Kelleris the executive editor of Task & Purpose. His writing has appeared in Aeon, the Los Angeles Review of Books, the New Republic, Pacific Standard, Smithsonian, and The Washington Post, among other publications. Contact the author here.

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