FBI Director Christopher Wray said the agency is dividing pro-Trump ralliers and those who engaged in rioting during the Capitol breach into three different groups, while suggesting that the majority of protesters on Jan. 6 were peaceful.
Wray, in a Senate hearing this week, suggested that most of the rally-goers on Jan. 6 were peaceful.
“The first group—the largest group, the group that we need to spend the least time talking about—is peaceful, maybe rowdy, protesters, but who weren’t violating the law,” he told lawmakers.
The second group consists of individuals who might have come to the rally to peacefully protest but got caught up in the events of the day.
“A second group that is people who may have come intending to just be part of a peaceful protest, but either got swept up in—in the motive, or emotion, or whatever, engaged in kind of low-level criminal behavior,” Wray remarked, as reported by the Washington Examiner’s Byron York. Crimes include trespassing on Capitol grounds but not actually reaching the building and breaching it.
Describing these individuals as “opportunistic,” Wray noted that breaching the Capitol grounds is “still criminal conduct.”
The third group is the smallest “numerically,” and they “breached the Capitol grounds and engaged in violence against law enforcement, who attempted to disrupt the members of Congress and the conduct of their constitutional responsibilities,” Wray went on to say.
“Some of those people clearly came to Washington, we now know, with plans and intentions to engage in the worst kind of violence we would consider domestic terrorism,” he added. “And so, some of that coordination appears to have been coordinated travel, coordinated meeting up, coordinated in terms of what kind of gear they might be wearing or bringing with them, that kind of thing.”
The FBI director did not provide any specific numbers, but he said that about 300 people so far have been arrested in connection to the breach.
Meanwhile, Jill Sanborn, an FBI counterterrorism official, told senators on Wednesday that she did not have any knowledge of suspects who were arrested in connection to the Jan. 6 incident having any firearms, as no firearms were recovered by law enforcement officials. Sanborn also said the only shooting during the breach was the officer-involved killing of protester Ashli Babbitt.
Among those who died was Brian Sicknick, a 42-year-old Capitol Police officer who died from “injuries sustained while on duty,” according to Capitol Police. Few details have been provided, and his mother, Gladys Sicknick, told news outlets last month that she believed Sicknick may have suffered a stroke. The New York Times was forced to update an article that cited anonymous sources in claiming Sicknick was killed by a Trump supporter armed with a fire extinguisher.