- North Carolina resident Chris Carnell was arrested in connection to the January 6 riots.
- Accessories helped authorities to identify him, including a pair of Pit Viper sunglasses.
- Carnell also snapped photos with white nationalists Nick Fuentes and Baked Alaska the day prior.
A Capitol rioter from North Carolina was charged by federal authorities who identified him and a friend by the brightly colored — and sometimes painfully obvious — accessories they wore when storming the Capitol.
Christopher Carnell, who appeared in a Raleigh court on Thursday, was caught on CCTV cameras with a bright, red backpack with his last name stitched on the back. Other fashion statements that helped to identify him and his friend David Worth Bowman included a pair of Pit Viper sunglasses and a blue facemask.
Carnell faces five charges for his participation in the riots, including one count for obstructing, influencing, or impeding an official proceeding, which carries a sentence of up to 20 years. Bowman is not currently facing charges, although it is unclear if any will be brought against him.
A spokesperson for the DOJ did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
According to criminal complaint prepared by the FBI filed Wednesday, authorities were first alerted to Carnell and Bowman after they arrested another rioter, Aiden Henry Bilyard, in November 2021. Bilyard, who admitted to pepper-spraying officers during the riots, is currently awaiting sentencing and faces up to five years in prison.
After seizing Bilyard’s phone, authorities found a group chat with three of Bilyard’s friends, including Carnell and Bowman.
According to messages sent in the group chat, on November 14, 2020 — following the presidential election — the friends took photos at the “Million MAGA March” with white nationalist Nick Fuentes and Tim Gionet, a streamer better known as Baked Alaska, and shared them in the group chat.
Before January 6, 2021, the group texted about plans to attend the “Stop the Steal” rally, messages show. On the day of the rally, Bowman bragged to his friends via text that he gave Baked Alaska his Pit Viper sunglasses, signaling to authorities that he had worn the sunglasses at some point in the day.
Two days after the riot, the group also spoke in code about entering certain parts of the US Capitol Building. For example, they referred to the Capitol building as a “Minecraft building” and asked their friends to delete their chat history “for fun.”
After reviewing video footage, officers found a man on the Senate floor with Pit Viper glasses and a blue mask speaking to a man with a red MAGA hat and a red backpack with the name “CARNELL” stitched in white thread.
On December 1, 2022, Bowman, in a voluntary interview with FBI agents, admitted he was the one in the sunglasses and identified his friend Carnell as the one in the MAGA hat.
“Bowman further stated that he was unaware of what was occurring within the Senate Chamber earlier in the day, but understood that Mike Pence needed to certify something in the House Chamber,” the affidavit said.
“Bowman explained that once he and Carnell actually entered the Senate Floor, they had no clear purpose or agenda. He stated, ‘like we are in here … like uh … we’re a dog, we caught the car, we don’t know what to do.'”
The affidavit stated there was “probable cause” that Carnell and Bowman violated multiple crimes.
Carnell is set to appear in a Washington, DC, federal court via Zoom on Tuesday at 1 p.m.
At least 1,000 people have been charged in the Capitol insurrection so far, according to an Insider database.
Bowman and Carnell did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.