Feds charge northern Michigan man in Jan. 6 D.C. attack

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

A northern Michigan man has been charged in connection with allegedly joining the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection in Washington, D.C., federal court records show.

Luke Michael Lints made his first appearance before a magistrate judge at the U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids on Thursday, the same day a complaint naming him was unsealed.

According to the document first filed June 24, Lints was among those who breached the U.S. Capitol as Congress met to certify Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election.

 A review of surveillance footage and videos posted on YouTube showed Lints “repeatedly engage in a violent assault against multiple law enforcement officers” in a “tunnel” the Capitol’s Lower West Terrace, an FBI special agent wrote in the filing.

Federal authorities said Lints is allegedly at right in this Capitol scene on Jan. 6.

“During a video taken inside the tunnel … Lints can be seen holding a police shield and pushing back against police officers,” the complaint read. “At one point, Lints uses the riot shield to prevent a law enforcement officer from closing a door to protect himself from the rioters.”

The FBI alleges Lints also was seen “directly outside the tunnel as a Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Officer is being assaulted by rioters.”

Lints initially was named only as “261-AFO (261–Assault on a Federal Officer)” on a list of attendees investigators sought to identify for charges.

In November, officials learned his identity from a source who said Lints was in Traverse City, the FBI said.

The FBI released this image of Lints in a bid to identify him.

Authorities checked a social media account associated with Lints on Parler.com and spotted a profile photograph posted in January 2021 that showed him standing with his mother near the Lincoln Memorial in Washington “wearing a black and grey flannel shirt and a hat with the letters 'PV' on it; consistent with the same clothing worn by 261-AFO on January 6,” according to the complaint.

The FBI interviewed Lints’ mother, who identified him but said she had a medical episode while walking along Pennsylvania Avenue to the U.S. Capitol and was unsure what her son did while she remained hospitalized. En route home to Michigan, Lints “appeared scared because of what he had done at the Capitol, and would not talk about it with her,” a special agent wrote.

Three other people identified Lints, according to the filing.

Lints was filmed among the rioters on Jan. 6, officials allege.

Authorities charged him with multiple violations:

  • Obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder
  • Entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds
  • Engaging in physical violence in a restricted building or grounds
  • Impeding passage through the Capitol grounds or buildings
  • Act of physical violence in the Capitol grounds or buildings

The FBI arrested him Thursday in Traverse City, according to court filings.

Lints was born in 1994 and most recently lived in Grand Traverse County, records show.

He was released on a $25,000 bond. His next court hearing is scheduled for July 5 in Grand Rapids.

Lints could not be reached Thursday night. An attorney listed as representing him did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

More than 12 people who have been arrested in Michigan in connection to  the insurrection, according to U.S. Department of Justice records.

In June, the FBI arrested Republican gubernatorial candidate Ryan Kelley on four misdemeanor charges, hours before the first high-profile hearing by a U.S. House committee investigating the riot.

The Department of Justice this week said more than 800 people across the country have been arrested for crimes relating to the attack, including more than 250 who assaulted or impeded police officers.