FBI arrests Nashville zip-tie suspect from assault on U.S. Capitol

FILE - In this Nov. 2, 2020 file photo, sunlight shines on the U.S. Capitol building on Capitol...
FILE - In this Nov. 2, 2020 file photo, sunlight shines on the U.S. Capitol building on Capitol Hill in Washington.(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)
Published: Jan. 10, 2021 at 5:02 PM EST
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -A self-described “hidden patriot” from Nashville, outed on social media as a rioter who invaded the U.S. Senate chambers Wednesday with a weapon and zip-tie handcuffs, was arrested Sunday on federal charges, NewsChannel 5 has learned.

FBI agents arrested 30-year-old Eric Gavelek Munchel Sunday around 2:50 p.m. based on an unspecified federal arrest warrant, WTVF reported.

Munchel was booked into the Metro Nashville jail.

WTVF reported, intense interest had focused on a photograph taken by Getty Images chief photographer Win McNamee showing a masked, camouflaged invader in the Senate gallery with a holstered weapon on his right side and the zip-tie handcuffs in his left hand.

One of the first clues about the man’s identity, noted by NewsChannel 5 Investigates, was a Tennessee patch on his chest plate with the “thin blue line” used to show support for police.

Those images then led to a video, livestreamed in the hours after the riot, showing the pair having drinks in the lobby of a Washington, D.C., hotel. The man was still wearing the same camouflage clothing.

Photos on Munchel’s Facebook page showed him posing with a gun in front of a television with President Trump on the screen. In the background, the picture shows an identical cap, like the one worn by the Capitol invader, with a patch depicting an assault rifle over the flag.

Other photos that were uncovered, showed Munchel at protests in downtown Nashville with the same “thin blue line” Tennessee patch on his chest.

WTVF reported his Facebook page showed Munchel supported unsuccessful efforts to recall Nashville Mayor John Cooper. He is believed to be employed at a Nashville bar that has opposed Cooper’s restriction on bars in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

After Munchel became the object of social media speculation, he apparently disabled his Facebook page.

Copyright 2021 WVLT via WTVF. All rights reserved.