Two Ohio men are among the latest people to be charged in connection with the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S Capitol after being identified by family and acquaintances to the FBI, according to U.S. District Court documents.
Derek Jancart, 39, and Alexander Sheppard, 21, join the eight other Ohioans accused of accompanying a mob of supporters of former President Donald Trump as they smashed their way into the U.S. Capitol. Five people, including a U.S. Capitol Police officer, died in the Jan. 6 assault. Dozens of people have been arrested in the attack, which temporarily halted congressional business to confirm Joe Biden as president.
Jancart and Sheppard, both of the Columbus area, face several federal charges, including violently entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds, and disorderly conduct in a Capitol building, according to a complaint. Sheppard, who lives in Powell, also faces one count of obstructing justice and Congress in their work that day to certify the 2020 election results.
Federal agents first received tips from acquaintances of Jancart and Sheppard regarding their alleged involvement in the days after the breach. A former coworker of Jancart, who lives in Canal Winchester, had notified the FBI of a Facebook page with Jancart’s name, which had posted images from inside the Capitol building, specifically showing the exterior of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office, with the caption, “We’re in.”
A high school friend of Sheppard’s provided his social media usernames to the FBI, resulting in the discovery of several references by Sheppard to take up arms in response to Trump losing the 2020 election, the complaint outlines.
A December Facebook post by Sheppard stated: “Millions of us will be in Washington D.C. on January 6th to protest the RIGGED election and the acts of WAR that China committed on our country. I’ll see you there!”
On Feb. 9, the same person who first reached out to the FBI regarding Jancart identified him in several photographs taken from police body cameras and Capitol Building surveillance during the attack, according to the complaint. The next day, the complaint states a family member of Jancart was interviewed by the FBI and confirmed his involvement in the Capitol breach through a series of text messages and by identifying him in photographs.
Jancart and Sheppard were both arrested Tuesday and shortly released from custody. Federal court documents did not list an attorney for either man.
The tally of Ohio residents accused of either participating or plotting the Jan. 6 breach is now up to 10.
A criminal complaint released last week linked a couple from southwestern Ohio to the Oath Keepers militia group who have had several members be indicted on charges that they planned and coordinated with one another in the attack.
Asked Wednesday about the apparently significant role of some Ohioans in the Capitol riots, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio and the ranking member on the Senate Homeland Security Committee, said the investigation’s focus has been on problems in the preparation and response to the Capitol riots, and that it will hear next week from the FBI and Justice Department.
“I’m sure that issue will come up,” Portman said. “But we also want to avoid this happening in the future and that’s the purpose really of the investigation.”