By Stacy M. Brown
NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
Federal prosecutors revealed alarming details in a detention memo filed on Wednesday, July 5, regarding the arrest of Taylor Taranto, a man apprehended last week in former President Barack Obama’s Washington, D.C., neighborhood.
According to the memo, Taranto began live-streaming in the area shortly after resharing a social media post from Donald Trump, the Republican presidential candidate claimed to share Obama’s address.
The prosecutors urged a federal magistrate judge in the D.C. District Court to keep Taranto detained pending his trial for charges related to the January 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol attack.
In the filing, prosecutors noted that Taranto not only possessed weapons but also made threats against House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Maryland Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin.
In June, Taranto and several others entered an elementary school near Raskin’s home.
The disturbing incident was live streamed by Taranto, who documented the group’s actions, such as wandering around the school, entering the gymnasium, and projecting a film related to the events of January 6.
The court filing revealed Taranto’s motive behind targeting the elementary school, stating that its proximity to Raskin’s residence influenced his choice.
Taranto expressed his intention to send a “shockwave” to Raskin, whom he perceived as harboring animosity towards supporters of former President Trump.
The memo quoted Taranto, who stated, “he’s one of the guys that hates January 6 people, or more like Trump supporters, and it’s kind of like sending a shockwave through him because I did nothing wrong, and he’s probably freaking out and saying s*** like, ‘Well he’s stalking me.’”
Moreover, Taranto explicitly mentioned the location of the school, Piney Branch Elementary School in Maryland, which is adjacent to Raskin’s residence.
Prosecutors emphasized the immediate and severe threat Taranto posed to the public.
They argued that his words and actions demonstrated his potential danger to multiple political figures and the general public.
Further, they urged the judge to consider the high-risk Taranto would pose if released, warning of potentially catastrophic consequences.
Taranto, already subject to an open warrant related to the January 6 riot charges, was apprehended last week in Obama’s neighborhood while possessing firearms.
The day before his arrest, Taranto claimed on a livestream that he possessed a detonator.
On June 28, prosecutors stated that Taranto made “ominous comments” on video targeting McCarthy, proclaiming, “Coming at you, McCarthy. Can’t stop what’s coming. Nothing can stop what’s coming.”
After witnessing these threatening remarks, law enforcement authorities attempted to locate Taranto but were unsuccessful.
The following day, on June 29, Trump allegedly shared what he claimed to be Obama’s address on the social media platform Truth Social.
Taranto, using his own Truth Social account, reposted the address.
Taranto further declared, “We got these losers surrounded! See you in hell, Podesta’s and Obama’s.”
Shortly after, Taranto resumed live streaming from his YouTube channel while driving through Washington D.C.’s Kalorama neighborhood.
According to the government’s filing, Taranto parked his van and walked around the residential area.
Due to the restricted nature of the neighborhood, United States Secret Service officers began monitoring Taranto almost immediately upon his arrival and initiation of filming.
Prosecutors highlighted Taranto’s repeated claims that his actions were protected by free speech as if uttering the words “First Amendment” absolved him of trespassing.
The detention memo quoted Taranto’s remarks captured in his recording: “So yeah, more than likely, these guys also all hang for treason. See how I said that? You gotta be very safe and careful. Someone warned me.”
As Secret Service agents approached Taranto while veering off the street into a wooded area, he attempted to flee but was swiftly apprehended and arrested.
In their filing, prosecutors disclosed that two firearms, a “Smith and Wesson M&P Shield” and a “Ceska 9mm C.Z. Scorpion E3,” were discovered in Taranto’s van during his arrest.
Additionally, they found numerous rounds of nine-millimeter ammunition, a steering wheel lock, a machete, signs, a mattress, and other items indicating that Taranto had been residing in the van.
While over a dozen other firearms are registered to Taranto, authorities said they have yet to locate them.
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