A Colorado Springs man who worked as a pastor in Florida is accused of breaching barricades to storm the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, while encouraging other rioters to keep fighting, according to a federal complaint.
Tyler Earl Ethridge, 33, was arrested Friday in Denver and is charged with a felony and several misdemeanors, court documents filed in U.S. District Court in Washington D.C. show.
He is the latest of several Coloradans who have been charged with federal crimes accusing them of participating in the Jan. 6 riot.
A tipster, who knew Ethridge from attending a Woodland Park bible college, told authorities that Ethridge livestreamed the rally on his Facebook page and later deleted the videos, according to the federal complaint. The tipster said Ethridge was “on scaffolding outside Nancy Pelosi’s office and inside the chamber. He was telling everyone about it.”
Ethridge was fired as a pastor from Christ Centered Church of Tampa in Dover, Fla., the church said in a Jan. 19, 2021, Facebook post. It’s unclear whether Ethridge is currently employed as a pastor.
An attorney was not listed for Ethridge in court filings and he couldn’t be reached for comment.
In an interview with the FBI, Ethridge said he traveled to Colorado Springs with his wife and daughter to visit friends in fall 2020. One friend offered to pay for a roundtrip ticket and an Airbnb to attend former President Donald Trump’s rally, the complaint said.
Ethridge flew with his friend and his friend’s son to Philadelphia International Airport on Jan. 4, before the three rented a car and drove to Washington. On Jan. 6, Ethridge and his friends arrived at the Washington Monument, but Ethridge then walked to the Capitol building after he said he couldn’t hear what was being said over the speakers, according to the complaint.
He told authorities that he didn’t destroy any barricades to the building, but video obtained by the FBI shows Ethridge removing fencing on the northwest side of the Capitol and a fence that held a sign that read: “Area Closed.” Ethridge was pepper-sprayed and hit with a rubber bullet as he pushed through the barricade with a large crowd, many of them yelling “Stop the steal,” the complaint said.
He then climbed a scaffold intended for the media before entering the Capitol, where he stayed for about 30 minutes, recording videos while he was inside, according to court documents.
“I’m probably going to lose my job as a pastor after this. … I think we’re to a point where talk is cheap. If this makes me lose my, my reputation, I don’t care,” he said in one of his videos, the complaint alleges.
Ethridge said he believed the riot to be “a peaceful revolution” and that he didn’t regret his decision to storm the Capitol, according to posts made to Facebook page on Jan. 7.
In the months after the riot, he remained active on social media and on Sept. 24, he wrote on Twitter: “Don’t be afraid of what they sentence you with. I’m not. I’m ready for whatever I’ll be charged with. America is still primed and ready.”
Since Jan. 6, 2021, authorities have arrested more than 850 people in nearly all 50 states for their alleged involvement in the breach of the U.S. Capitol, according to the U.S. District Attorney’s Office.