Metro Detroit man charged with breaking into Capitol

Robert Snell
The Detroit News

Detroit — A Brownstown Township man was charged Thursday with breaking into the U.S. Capitol and accused of threatening to kill "commie bastards" during a looming war, becoming the ninth person from Michigan to face charges in connection with the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Anthony Michael Puma, 49, was arrested Thursday and is facing multiple charges, including obstruction of Congress and violent entry/disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, according to a federal court filing.

Federal agents accused Puma of scaling a wall outside the Capitol, breaking in through a window and encouraging others involved in the insurrection, according to an FBI statement obtained by The Detroit News. 

Investigators searched his Facebook account and obtained posts in which Puma threatened violence and expressed support for then-President Donald Trump, according to the statement.

“On the 6th when we are all there in the capital and he is givin (sic) his second term the people will see," the post reads. "Then you never know we might have to start killing some commie bastards. #stopthesteal.” 

Another post from Jan. 5 warned of a looming war.

"Tomorrow is the big day. Rig for Red," Puma wrote. "War is coming."

Insurrectionists loyal to President Donald Trump try to open a door of the U.S. Capitol Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington.

Court records portray Puma as an instrumentation technologist with a 2008 drug conviction who has filed bankruptcy three times.

A handcuffed and shackled Puma appeared in federal court in Detroit and was released on a $10,000 unsecured bond. He is scheduled to appear for a court hearing June 2 in the nation’s capital.

“I want to go to D.C.,” he said.

His court-appointed lawyer, Rhonda Brazile, did not respond immediately to a request for comment Thursday.

FBI agents identified Puma after receiving a tip two days after the insurrection. One of Puma’s Facebook friends had seen his livestream during the insurrection and said Puma was inside the Capitol, according to an FBI statement filed in federal court Thursday.

Agents reviewed his Facebook page and saw several photos of him in Washington, D.C,. on Jan. 6.

Agents interviewed him at home Jan. 14. Puma told investigators he traveled to D.C. with friends and stayed from Jan. 5-7. While there, they attended a Trump rally.

After, Puma said he walked to the east side of the Capitol.

FBI agents found this photo of Anthony Puma posing in Freedom Plaza the day before the insurrection.

“Puma said that, when he arrived, there were no police or barricades blocking entry,” FBI Special Agent Adam Ayriss wrote. “Puma said that he walked up on the mezzanine, walked inside the Capitol, and into the atrium.”

Puma told agents he used a camera to livestream the insurrection on Facebook, according to the court filing. He gave agents the memory card from the camera.

In one video, “Puma can be heard encouraging others in front of him to move forward and clear the way for others trying to scale the wall of the Capitol,” the agent wrote.

In another video, “Puma can be heard telling someone that he just scaled the wall," the agent wrote.

Later on in the video, the camera recorded Puma entering the Capitol through a window, according to the court filing.

The FBI said Anthony Puma broke into the U.S. Capitol by climbing through a window.

In another post, Puma wrote about his hopes for Jan. 6, according to the FBI agent.

"What time do we storm the House of Representatives?” he wrote. “Hopefully we are storming the House of Representatives tomorrow..."

Puma implicated himself after the riot, according to the FBI.

“I was there. They were flash banging us. Tear gassing us. Pepper spraying us," Puma wrote in a post. "We were outside. Don’t believe the NEWS. I have hours of video on my go pro.”

Days later, he posted: “When I got up and over the wall I walked right into the front door and walked around in the capital bldg. Cops everywhere everyone peaceful.”

Eight other Michigan residents have been charged during a broader crackdown on people involved in the Jan. 6 insurrection. They are:

• Jeramiah Caplinger, 25, of Taylor. Federal agents said he was identified as being in the Capitol on Jan. 6 through still images from YouTube and social media wearing "a red bucket hat," a "striped shirt" and carrying a "carrying a tree branch with a flag attached."

• Karl Dresch, 40, of Calumet, who is being held without bond, is accused of illegally entering the Capitol. Prosecutors shared photographs posted on Facebook, including one with the title “We are in" that a U.S. Capitol police officer confirmed shows the inside of the U.S. Capitol Building. The photo shows "specifically, the 'Crypt,' a location under the rotunda in the center of the Capitol," according to a court filing.

On Thursday, a federal judge refused to release Dresch on bond, citing his criminal record that includes a conviction for leading police on a 145 miles-per-hour chase through two states.

Karl Dresch sent this photo of a pose next to a statue of former Vice President John C. Calhoun inside the U.S. Capitol during the riot to an associate on Jan. 8, FBI agents said.

• Jeremy Sorvisto, 37, of Hancock, who is accused of traveling with Dresch and breaking into the Capitol.

• Anthony Robert Williams, 45, of Troy, who is free on bond. Williams is accused of breaking into the U.S. Capitol in January and bragging how he "pushed back the cops."

• Daniel Herendeen, 43, of Chesterfield Township and Bobby Schornak, 39, of Roseville were charged with obstructing Congress, breaking into the Capitol and disorderly conduct. They are free on bond.

• Michael Joseph Foy, 30, of Wixom. Federal prosecutors said Foy on Jan. 6 struck law enforcement at least 10 times with a hockey stick that had carried a President Donald Trump flag earlier in the day. Foy, who is being held without bond, later rallied others to climb through broken windows in the U.S. Capitol, prosecutors said, citing a YouTube video and police body camera footage. 

• James Allen Mels, 56, of Shelby Township. Mels posted selfies after entering the Capitol and told investigators he traveled to Washington, D.C., with 11 other "like-minded Patriots" because "he believed the 2020 presidential election to have been fraudulently decided," according to a federal court filing. The sheet metal worker was released on a $10,000 unsecured bond following an initial appearance in federal court in Detroit.

rsnell@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @robertsnellnews