Facebook posts, a story in the Baton Rouge Advocate and a witness were used by the FBI to identify a Lafayette man who entered the U.S. Capitol Jan. 6 during a siege by Trump supporters while Congress was in session.
Vaughn A. Gordon was arrested, booked and released Thursday from the St. Martin Parish Jail on charges of knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds without lawful authority and of parading, demonstrating or picketing in the Capitol buildings.
The narrative contained in the affidavit for Gordon’s arrest, obtained by The Acadiana Advocate Friday, was prepared by Andrew Berger, a special agent with the Washington field office of the FBI.
“For purposes of Section 1752 of Title 18,” he wrote, “a ‘restricted building’ includes a posted, cordoned off, or otherwise restricted area of a building or grounds where the President or other person protected by the Secret Service, including the Vice President, is or will be temporarily visiting; or any building or grounds so restricted in conjunction with an event designated as a special event of national significance.”
Berger wrote that on Jan. 6 photographs posted on a Facebook page for a Vaughn Gordon appear to have been taken inside the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Berger was unable to access the photos, he wrote, but someone captured them and provided them to law enforcement.
The selfie photos show Gordon outside the Capitol wearing goggles and inside the Capitol with the goggles around his neck. He was wearing a backwards cap bearing USA with the caption, “Live inside the Congress building. It was worth the tear gas,” the affidavit states.
Gordon also wrote on his Facebook page that police officers, at some point, ushered people into the building. Gordon posted that he was never asked to leave the Capitol and never ventured beyond the Capitol rotunda area, Berger wrote.
A Jan. 9 story in The Advocate about a rally at the Louisiana Capitol in Baton Rouge quotes Gordon saying he was “peaceful amid the mayhem,” but added that he is considered a felon for entering the Capitol on Jan. 6, where he remained for about two hours. Gordon indicated he traveled to Washington, D.C., to attend the pro-Trump Stop the Steal rally with a friend and alleged he entered the Capitol because tear gas drove him inside, Berger wrote.
Photos attributed to Gordon on his Facebook page, the affidavit states, show him in front of the George Washington statue in the rotunda of the Capitol and show other unidentified people in the crypt.
Berger said he compared the photos on the Facebook page with Gordon’s driver’s license and they appear to be the same person.
Other law enforcement officers, he wrote, interviewed a witness who confirmed Gordon as the person photographed with the backwards cap bearing USA. The witness allegedly interacted with Gordon multiple times, plus an image provided by Gordon to The Advocate appears to be the same as an image posted on his Facebook page.
Berger said he also reviewed multiple leads regarding Gordon received by the FBI’s tip line, including additional Facebook posts from his account discussing his presence at the Capitol Jan. 6.
Rioters nearly overtook the House and Senate, but all escaped unharmed. Five people, including one police officer, was killed in the siege. The crowd was forced out by police after several hours and Congress continued its business, certifying electoral college votes that confirm the election of Joe Biden as the 46th President.