Washington riots: Eric Munchel arrested after carrying zip tie restraints at Capitol siege

Online sleuthers believe the man in black carrying zip ties is Eric Munchel.
Online sleuthers believe the man in black carrying zip ties is Eric Munchel. Photo credit: Getty Images

A Donald Trump supporter who stormed the US Capitol building last week wearing all black and carrying zip ties has been arrested by the FBI.

Eric Gavelek Munchel, 30, was taken into custody in Tennessee and charged with one count of knowingly entering a restricted building and one count of violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, according to the US Department of Justice.

A Getty Images photo from the riot on Wednesday showed a man dressed in all-black tactical gear while carrying a handful of double zip ties, otherwise known flex cuffs, which are often used by police officers when there are large crowds, while inside the Senate Chamber.

The photograph spread widely online and sparked fears the rioters wanted to take hostages or detain lawmakers, according to Buzzfeed News.

Internet researchers pieced together the man's identity in the three days after the riot and concluded it was Munchel in the photo.

To identify him, there was a focus on the gear he was wearing, which included a Tennessee patch on his chest plate with the 'thin blue line' that's used to show support for the police, and a woman he was seen entering the building with.

Footage was found of him entering the Capitol as police offered no resistance, which then led to a video of him later in the day at the Grand Hyatt hotel in Washington wearing the same camouflage clothing.

Internet sleuths said they'd found a "very strong identification" for "Zip Tie Guy", but initially wouldn't release his name publicly and instead referred the man to the FBI. But they said his social media shows him "brandishing weapons and holding a thin blue line flag in front of images of Donald Trump".

The Department of Justice said Munchel appears to be the man in the photo, and he's shown with plastic restraints, an item in his holster on his right hip, and a cell phone mounted on his chest, which they believe could've been used to video the riots.

While they didn't identify what was in his holster, Nashville's News Channel 5 reports Munchel was carrying a Taser and he described himself as a "hidden patriot".

Another man, Larry Rendell Brock, was also arrested on Sunday and charged. Similar to Munchel, he was also seen holding flex cuffs and wearing tactical clothing, the Department of Justice said.