DOJ: Navy Petty Officer Charged in Capitol Riot Wanted to 'Wipe Out' Jews, Praised Hitler
NHatchet Speed, of Virginia, was arrested Wednesday on four misdemeanor counts in connection with the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol.
WASHINGTON — A Navy petty officer who allegedly told an undercover FBI employee he was studying the Olympic Park Bomber was arrested Wednesday on charges of entering the U.S. Capitol Building during the Jan. 6 riot.
Hatchet Speed was taken into custody in McLean, Virginia, yesterday on four misdemeanor counts. According to court documents unsealed Thursday, Speed is a petty officer first class in the U.S. Naval Reserves assigned to the Naval Warfare Space Field Activity at the National Reconnaissance Office in Chantilly, Virginia. Speed is also employed as a software developer for a Vienna, Virginia, company that conducts advanced analytics for the Department of Defense.
In March, according to an affidavit, Speed told an undercover FBI employee he’d traveled to the Capitol on Jan. 6 with friends who are members of the Proud Boys. Speed said going to the Capitol was “always the plan,” and that he’d eventually gone inside because he was “tired of getting tear gassed.” He also said he’d heard former Vice President Mike Pence had “validated” certain ballots he considered “invalid.
According to the affidavit, “SPEED described Pence’s act as a betrayal. SPEED stated that, at that point, he was like, ‘I’m going in there. Like I have no respect for people in this building. They have no respect for me. I have no respect for them.’”
Investigators eventually located a man they identified as Speed in surveillance footage from the Capitol and publicly available video of the riot – including a livestream by another defendant, Anthime “Baked Alaska” Gionet.
Speed reportedly told the undercover FBI employee he eventually left the building because he felt the rioters were in control.
“The Congress and Senate had evacuated through the tunnels so nobody was there except us,” he said.
Speed said he’d also heard Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) had agreed to a “10-day delay of the vote and in the meantime there [would] be an investigation into the improprieties of the election.” In hearings of the January 6th Committee hearings this month, multiple witnesses have testified that former President Donald Trump and attorney John Eastman had pressured Pence to declare a 10-day recess of the joint session of Congress as part of their plan to overturn the 2020 election.
Federal prosecutors said in a filing Thursday they were not going to request Speed be held in pretrial detention, but rather wanted him placed on home detention with location monitoring. They also asked a federal magistrate judge to impose strict conditions prohibiting Speed from possessing or being around firearms.
In an affidavit, an FBI special agent said financial records showed Speed had purchased at least 12 firearms between Feb. 11, 2021, and May 26, 2021 – what the undercover employee said Speed suggested was “panic buying.” In total, Speed reportedly purchased more than $50,000 worth of firearms and equipment in the months after Jan. 6 at firearms stores in multiple states, including Texas, Tennessee, Florida, Missouri, Minnesota, Georgia, Idaho and Utah. During a search of his home in Virginia, agents seized eight firearms and seven suppressors. They found five more firearms belonging to Speed that were not seized, along with 25 more belonging to Speed’s housemates, which were also not seized.
The special agent said Speed had also made numerous statements praising the writings of the “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski and Eric Rudolph, the man known as the “Olympic Park Bomber” who was convicted of a series of bombings that killed two people and injured more than 100 others between 1996 and 1998. Rudolph’s targets, in addition to location of the 1996 Summer Olympics, included two abortion clinics in Georgia and Alabama and a lesbian bar in Atlanta.
Speed allegedly said he was reading Rudolph and Kaczynski’s writings, telling the undercover FBI employee, “So, it’s useful to get into these people’s heads and you know, try and come up with a better game plan than they had.”
The undercover employee said Speed also repeatedly expressed anti-Semitic beliefs and praised Adolf Hitler, describing him as “one of the best people that’s ever been on this Earth.” Speed also allegedly suggested going “for the people who matter,” like the Anti-Defamation League, which he criticized because of their support for a federal anti-lynching law.
“They know things are… going to get bad enough, that people like us are going to band together and straight up start lynching people,” Speed allegedly said.
In the affidavit, the FBI also says Speed “praised the approach of jihadists and suggested that their approach would be an effective way to ‘wipe out’ the opposition, referring to Jewish people.”
Speed was scheduled to make an initial appearance in federal court in D.C. on Thursday.