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3 active-duty Marines charged for Jan. 6 participation

Protesters at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. on on Jan. 6, 2021. (Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
January 20, 2023

Three active-duty Marines have been criminally charged for their participation in the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol storming after being arrested earlier this week.

Court documents say that fellow Marines helped identify Micah Coomer, Joshua Abate and Dodge Dale Hellonen in footage filmed as a group of protesters entered the Capitol, the Associated Press reported.

Marine Corps spokesman Maj. Kevin Stephensen said the branch is aware of the charges and “is fully cooperating with appropriate authorities in support of the investigation.”

Authorities say the three men spent about 52 minutes inside the building, AP reported. Hellonen was carrying a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag, and at one point, they put a “Make America Great Again” hat on a statue in the rotunda and took pictures with it, according to authorities.

They face charges including illegal entry and disorderly conduct, AP reported. They are among the first active-duty Jan. 6 defendants, though many others have military backgrounds. 

AP reported that Coomer is from Indiana and stationed at Camp Pendleton in California; Abate is from Virginia and stationed at Fort Meade in Maryland; and Hellonen is from Michigan and stationed at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.

According to the Pentagon, Abate was assigned to the Marine Cryptologic Support Battalion, which works with the National Security Agency. Abate had previously admitted to entering the Capitol on Jan. 6 during an interview related to his security clearance, according to investigators.

An NSA spokesperson declined to answer when the agency learned of that admission or how it acted on the information.

Later in January 2021, after the storming, Coomer texted a person that “everything in this country is corrupt,” according to court documents.

“We honestly need a fresh restart. I’m waiting for the boogaloo,” Coomer wrote. The person asked him what “boogaloo” meant and he responded, “Civil war 2,” according to authorities.

This was a breaking news story. The details were periodically updated as more information became available.