FAA employee charged with taking part in US Capitol riot
Riverside, Calif. – A Federal Aviation Administration employee and QAnon follower from California who had been on the FBI’s radar is facing federal charges after he confessed to taking part in the siege of the U.S. Capitol, according to court documents released Friday.
Kevin Strong, 44, of Beaumont, surrendered to authorities on Friday and appeared in a federal court in Riverside, where a judge ordered him held on $50,000 bond, said Laura Eimiller, spokeswoman for the FBI in Los Angeles.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether Strong had raised the bond. Messages left for his public defender weren’t immediately returned.
Strong, who is about 6-foot-7-inches tall, was photographed and seen on news broadcasts inside the Capitol, according to an FBI agent’s affidavit that accompanied a request for criminal charges and a search warrant.
A member of the FAA’s internal investigations department notified the FBI a day after the siege that Strong had been at the Capitol, the affidavit said.
Strong faces three charges: violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, entering or remaining in a restricted area, and being disorderly or disruptive in a restricted area.
Strong works for the FAA in San Bernardino, and the FBI began investigating him on Dec. 30, a week before a violent mob stormed the Capitol.
The investigation began after someone told the agency that Strong “had been showing signs of behavioral changes over the last few months including stockpiling items and telling others to get ready for marshal law, rioting, and protesting,” the FBI affidavit said.
The FBI was told that Strong had claimed World War III was going to occur on Jan. 6 and that the extremist group QAnon would cover the debt for a new truck he recently had purchased.
The FBI also was told that Strong had hung a flag at his home that said “WW1WGA,” which is a QAnon slogan standing for “Where We Go One, We Go All,” according to the affidavit.
FBI agents went to Strong’s home east of Los Angeles on Jan. 16 and seized two guns belonging to his uncle. Strong told agents that he was inside the Capitol and provided them with photographs and videos he took while inside.
Strong said he didn’t do any damage or attack law enforcement and had traveled to Washington, D.C., to see former President Donald Trump speak and to walk during a pro-Trump march.
Strong “adheres strongly to QAnon ideology, admitting to having ‘Q Clearance,’ and said he believed that “a new one-party system” called “the Patriot Party” was coming, the affidavit said.
Strong is among more than 100 people who have been charged with various crimes involving the riot, which left five people dead including a Capitol police officer.
They include a handful of Californians, including a Beverly Hills physician who was arrested this week on charges of violent entry and entering a restricted area.
According to a LinkedIn page, Strong is an airway transportation systems specialist. They are responsible for installing, maintaining and operating radar, airport lighting, air conditioning and other FAA flight operations equipment.
“The FAA reported the situation to the FBI and is supporting the investigation,” the FAA said in a statement on Friday. “We will take the appropriate action based on the information we have.”