Advertisement

He ‘fueled the manpower of the mob’: Another Missouri man charged in Capitol riot

Federal authorities have arrested another Missourian in connection with the Capitol riot, the fifth resident of the Show-Me State to be charged since last month.

Eric Glen Harrower, of Jefferson County, near St. Louis, is accused of participating in the riot with another Missouri man and helping rioters scale a banister that led to the Senate Wing Doors that they breached.

He faces four misdemeanor counts: entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds; disorderly conduct in a Capitol building; and parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building.

Harrower was charged July 6 in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and arrested in St. Louis the following day. But the case wasn’t unsealed until Tuesday.

Harrower was released on a personal recognizance bond after a hearing via video conference Thursday in federal court in Washington, D.C. His next court appearance is scheduled for Sept. 28.

His is the third Capitol riot arrest made public this past week that involves a Kansas or Missouri resident. On Monday, authorities arrested Chad Suenram, of Wichita, on four misdemeanor counts. Prosecutors say the Marine veteran wore a patriotic face mask and had an American flag painted on his head when he breached the Capitol.

And on Tuesday, authorities arrested Christopher Roe of Raytown, who is accused of assaulting police and carrying a pitchfork on the Capitol grounds during the riot. He faces nine charges, including five felonies.

The arrests have come as the massive Capitol riot investigation has picked up the pace, two-and-a-half years after the Jan. 6 breach. The arrest tally now stands at nearly 1,100, on charges ranging from demonstrating in a Capitol building to seditious conspiracy.

The government said Eric Harrower, right, and Joshua Dressel, sitting left, manned an overturned bike rack and appeared to watch as the mob attacked police during the Capitol riot.
The government said Eric Harrower, right, and Joshua Dressel, sitting left, manned an overturned bike rack and appeared to watch as the mob attacked police during the Capitol riot.

Federal prosecutors’ allegations

Prosecutors allege that Harrower was at the Capitol with Joshua Dressel of Jefferson County, who was charged last year with entering the Capitol in the early minutes of the breach and pleaded guilty in August to parading, demonstrating or picketing in the Capitol building. Dressel was sentenced in March to 14 days in jail, a $500 fine and $500 restitution for damage to the Capitol.

According to the probable cause affidavit, authorities became aware of Harrower during their investigation of Dressel.

“In reviewing footage of Dressel in the Capitol Building and Capitol Grounds, the FBI noticed that Dressel traveled throughout the day with a man with a long reddish-brown beard and maroon hoodie sweatshirt,” the affidavit said. “In Dressel’s Facebook messages, which were reviewed in connection with the investigation, the FBI learned that Dressel was with ‘Eric’ on January 6, 2021. Additional review of Dressel’s Facebook account showed he exchanged several messages with ‘Eric Harrower.’”

On May 12, 2021, the affidavit said, the FBI found a Facebook account belonging to someone named Eric Harrower. The photos on the account matched the images of the man who was with Dressel at the Capitol, it said.

In February 2022, Dressel’s attorney told the FBI that Harrower “wanted to make himself known to the FBI,” the affidavit said. Harrower called the FBI on Feb. 9, 2022, and scheduled an interview. In the interview, it said, Harrower said he and Dressel drove to the D.C. area on Jan. 5, 2021, to attend the “Stop the Steal” rally the next day.

Harrower told the FBI that on Jan. 6, he and Dressel listened to some of former President Donald Trump’s speech and then walked toward the Capitol, the affidavit said.

“As they got closer to the Capitol, they could hear flashbangs and see what they thought was tear gas,” it said. “They witnessed rioters that had been pepper sprayed and claimed to have been shot with pepper ball rounds. There was a lot of chaos in front of the Capitol.”

Harrower told the FBI that when he and Dressel arrived at the Capitol, he saw a rioter smash the base of a flag stand into the stonework, according to the affidavit. Harrower said he went inside the building and spent his time in a room with large columns and statues. The crowd in that area became rowdy, he told the FBI.

“As he and Dressel exited the Capitol, there was a commotion at the front door,” the document said. “Harrower, however, indicated he was unsure what was going on.”

As the two exited, they came across a rioter with a shield who was arguing with police, the affidavit said. Harrower said that after leaving the building, he and Dressel returned to their hotel, packed up and left the D.C. area late that afternoon or early that evening.

“Harrower volunteered that he came to the FBI willingly to accept responsibility for being in the Capitol and pay the consequences,” the affidavit said. “Harrower was shown four printed pictures of himself in the Capitol. He signed and dated the pictures acknowledging that the individual in the pictures was in fact him.”

What videos showed Jan. 6, 2021

The FBI agent who signed the affidavit said he reviewed open-source videos from Jan. 6 and found evidence “establishing that Harrower and Dressel used overturned bike racks as ladders to assist other rioters as they clambered up the banister to the northwest steps” of the Capitol.

“In doing so, they fueled the manpower of the mob, of which they were willing participants,” the agent wrote in the document. “When the mob on the steps reached critical mass, it was able to breach the police line at the top of the steps.”

The mob eventually managed to break into the Capitol, the affidavit said. As Harrower and Dressel helped rioters climb the banister, it said, a rioter next to them shouted “F— DC PD!”

“Shortly thereafter, the camera pans to a group of police officers in riot gear struggling to move as the mob attacked them,” the document said. “Harrower would have had a clear view of these events from his position on the banister.”

Despite witnessing those violent actions, the affidavit said, the two proceeded up the stairs to the West Plaza and made it to the Senate Wing Doors.

“While there, and as the crowd finished chanting, ‘Fight for Trump!,’ Harrower and Dressel wrapped their arms around each other and patted their shoulders as if to congratulate themselves,” the document said. “Approximately 29 seconds later, the crowd in front of the Senate Wing Doors began to shout again and again, ‘Let us in!’”

Harrower entered the Capitol and ended up in the Crypt area with rioters and police.

“In the Crypt, the mob was raucous and loud,” the affidavit said. “During this time, Harrower witnessed a member of the mob throw a fire extinguisher at police officers.”

Surveillance video from inside the Capitol showed a man believed to be Harrower entering the building through the Senate Wing Doors around 2:14 p.m. and exiting through a broken window near those doors at about 2:36 p.m., the document said.

Before Dressel’s sentencing last year, he wrote a letter of apology to the judge.

“I do not feel morally justified and I take full accountability for those actions and my involvement,” he wrote. “I was not coerced into going into the capitol and I did not get ‘caught up’ in the moment. I take full responsibility for the charge against me and all the decisions I made that day.”