A Navy veteran arrested with guns near former President Obama’s house in Washington, D.C., had recorded himself making threatening statements regarding House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) and a federal facility housing a nuclear research reactor in suburban Maryland. Federal prosecutors asked a judge to jail Taylor Taranto, 37, pending trial, saying that the QAnon conspiracy theorist showed up near Obama’s home shortly after Donald Trump posted on his social media platform what he said was Obama’s address, reports the Washington Post. Taranto was armed, dangerous and in the grip of delusional thinking, prosecutors said. He had eluded law enforcement for nearly a day before his arrest June 29 in a wooded area near Washington’s Kalorama neighborhood. “Taranto is a direct and serious threat to the public. Taranto’s own words and actions demonstrate that he is a direct threat to multiple political figures as well as the public at large,” said Assistant U.S. Attorneys Allison Ethen and Colin Cloherty.
Authorities had searched for Taranto before June 28 but he was living in his van. Public defender Katie Guevara said that while Taranto may be guilty of “hyperbole” and making “inflammatory statements to get attention,” he made no specific threat, had no criminal history, and was charged only with four misdemeanor counts of trespassing and disorderly conduct related to the Jan. 6, 2021. Capitol siege. He had been living in Washington state and had come to D.C. this year to pursue McCarthy’s offer to Jan. 6 defendants to review footage of Capitol security video. Authorities discovered his live stream as he apparently was driving to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) 15 miles north of Washington. In the live stream, Taranto allegedly made statements he intended to blow up his van at the facility, claimed that he had a detonator, was on a “one way mission” and that his vehicle was self-driving so he could be far away when it “went off.” A search of Taranto's van turned up a machete, 400 rounds of ammunition and two handguns. The two 9mm pistols were among 20 firearms registered to Taranto, but the locations of the 18 others are unknown.