A US Capitol rioter caught on camera menacingly clutching disposable restraints while sporting paramilitary gear is a former bartender from Nashville who stormed the Senate with his mom, according to a report Sunday.
Eric Munchel, 30 — photographed holding the zip-tie-like handcuffs while he climbed over press gallery chairs — said he and his 57-year-old mother, Lisa Eisenhart, breached the building, according to the Times of London.
“We wanted to show that we’re willing to rise up, band together and fight if necessary. Same as our forefathers, who established this country in 1776. It was a kind of flexing of muscles,” said Munchel, who wore a bulletproof vest during the riot.
The photograph of him, which went viral this week, led to speculation that violent, misguided rioters were potentially planning to take hostages.
But Munchel — who admitted to bringing a Taser that was confiscated earlier in the day — said the goal was simply to get inside the building.
“The intentions of going in were not to fight the police. The point of getting inside the building is to show them that we can, and we will,” he said.
Eisenhart, a nurse and Trump supporter, said she and her son drove from Tennessee to fight the powers that be — including the press and liberal elected officials.
“The left has everything: the media, organizations, the government. We have to organize if we’re going to fight back and be heard,” she told the paper. “I’d rather die as a 57-year-old woman than live under oppression. I’d rather die and would rather fight.”
She added, “This country was founded on revolution. If they’re going to take every legitimate means from us, and we can’t even express ourselves on the internet, we won’t even be able to speak freely, what is America for?”
A since-deleted Facebook account belonging to Munchel listed him as working at Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille in Fort Myers, Florida.
The bar said in a statement Friday that he stopped working there two years ago. “We have no affiliation with this employee and their actions were their own,” it stated.
Five people died after rioters stormed the US Capitol in an attempt to stop the 2020 presidential election certification vote Wednesday.