Eric Munchel, Capitol Rioter Accused of Carrying Zip Ties, Has Release Blocked

A judge has blocked the release of Capitol suspect known as the "zip tie guy" in order to review a decision to free him ahead of his trial.

Photos of Eric Gavelek Munchel carrying plastic hand restraints while dressed head to toe in military-style attire were seen across the world following the insurrection on January 6

Munchel was charged, along with his mother, on suspicion of storming the building during the attack in which five people died.

Following his arrest, FBI agents conducted a search of his house in Nashville, Tennessee, and discovered an arsenal of weapons, including assault rifles, a sniper rifle, a double barrel shotgun, pistols, and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.

Last week, Tennessee magistrate judge Jeffery S. Frensley successfully argued that Munchel is not a flight risk nor does he "pose an obvious and clear danger to the safety" of the public and granted pretrial release. Frensley noted his apparent respect for law enforcement officials and no evidence that he caused any destruction inside the Capitol.

Beryl A. Howell, chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, has now blocked the release of Munchel while she reviews the decision.

In court documents arguing against his release, prosecutors noted the weapons seized by the FBI following his arrest, as well as his apparent jubilation while storming the Capitol on January 6.

Videos taken from the scene of the attack appear to show Munchel shouting how he is "F*****g ready to f**k s**t up" and "I guess they thought we were playing!" while the mob breaks through into the building.

Another video shows the defendant spot plastic restraints on a cabinet inside a hallway in the Capitol and yell out: "Zip ties! I need to get me some of them motherf*****s."

Prosecutors said Munchel took steps to evade detection following the attack, including avoiding his home and workplace, deactivating his Facebook account, and giving his cell phone—which contained footage of the Capitol siege—to an associate. Munchel is also alleged to have threatened a man at a D.C. hotel after believing him to be a member of Antifa on January 6.

Prosecutors said that Munchel can "make no serious claim that he went to the Capitol" on January 6 to engage in peaceful protest or civil disobedience.

"It is difficult to fathom a more serious danger to the community—to the District of Columbia, to the country, or to the fabric of American Democracy—than the one posed by armed insurrectionists, including the defendant, who joined in the occupation of the United States Capitol," prosecutors add.

"Every person who was present without authority in the Capitol on January 6 contributed to the chaos of that day and the danger posed to law enforcement, the Vice President, Members of Congress, and the peaceful transfer of power. The defendant's specific conduct aggravated the chaos and danger.

"Make no mistake: the fear the defendant helped spread on January 6 persists—the imprint on this country's history of a militia clad insurrectionist standing over an occupied Senate chamber is indelible. Only detention mitigates such grave danger."

It is unclear when Munchel will appear before a judge to face another detention hearing. The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has been contacted for comment.

Munchel is charged with one count of knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority and one count of violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.

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Protesters enter the Senate Chamber on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. A judge has blocked the release of Capitol suspect "zip tie guy" in order to review a decision to release Eric Munchel ahead of his trial. Win McNamee/Getty