Former classmates of Cocoa Beach native Dillon Paul Homol, 22 — the third Brevard resident charged in connection to the Capitol Riot — tipped off the FBI about his activities by sending them Homol’s social media posts from the building on Jan 6., according to News 6 partner Florida Today.
Charging documents released Thursday showed that the videos and photographs collected and sent to the FBI led to Homol’s arrest by federal agents Tuesday on the Space Coast. Homol appeared in the U.S. District Court in Orlando the same day, and was released on $25,000 bond, according to the federal prosecutors office.
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William Daniels a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida, confirmed the arrest and court appearance, directing further questions to the U.S. Attorney’s office for the District of Columbia, where the case will be prosecuted.
Court records show that Homol was charged with obstruction of congress, violent entry and disorderly conduct and entering and remaining in a restricted area or grounds. If convicted, he could face a maximum of 31 years in prison and fines up to $600,000.
In addition to bond, Homol had to surrender his passport, firearms and submit to pretrial supervision. His travel is also restricted to the Middle District of Florida and Washington D.C., as needed for his trial. A court date has not yet been set.
Contacted Thursday, Homol declined to comment beyond expressing a desire for him and his family to be left alone.
Homol attended Cape View Elementary and Cocoa Beach Jr. and Sr. High School before graduating from Merritt Island High in 2017, according to a school district official.
A former classmate told Floridaa Today he was surprised that Homol was charged, but recalled seeing posts from the Capitol on Homol’s Instagram account at the time of the riot.
According to the criminal complaint, the FBI received tips from two former classmates who captured videos Homol had posted to his own Snapchat account and Facebook page as both live streams videos and Facebook “stories.”
Facebook stories are videos or photos that are shared temporarily to a user’s account for friends and followers to view. Snapchat is a messaging application focused on sharing photos, videos or texts that disappear after short periods of time unless otherwise recorded.
Homol’s social media accounts appeared to be restricted or scrubbed of any such posts Thursday.
The two tipsters provided the recordings to an FBI agent, and identified Homol who was wearing a camouflage backpack, a blue and black plaid shirt, blue jeans, brown and black boots, a red “TRUMP” hat and a mullet hairstyle, the FBI said.
Screencaptures included in the criminal complaint against Homol show him ecstatically smiling at the camera and wielding a red Trump “Make America Great Again” flag.
According to the FBI, Homol in a live stream said: “It’s the Capitol building, they are counting the electorals in there right now and we stormed it. Look at them Trump flags up top.”
He then turns the camera towards his face and states: “They can’t stop us all, come on we are going into the Capitol, can’t stop us all.”
As he approached the Capitol he allegedly told the livestream: “American people are sick and tired of it, we’re tired of it, the communist cops of Washington DC, we’re storming the Capitol building. We’re storming the Capitol, this is our country.”
Homol chanted “USA” as he ascended the Capitol steps on the west side of the building and once inside he is heard saying, “come on people,” as he waves his red MAGA flag, according to the FBI. Statues he passed indicate he made it to the Senate wing and 2nd floor of the building.
According to social media activity the FBI obtained through a warrant, Homol had shared “stop the steal” posts as early as November 9, 2020.
According to the FBI “Homol was also in a group chat on Facebook titled “DC Rally” with multiple other members who planned to attend the rally on Jan. 6, 2021. Discussions in the group centered on planned meet-ups, a ‘security SOP’ (standard operating procedure) for the group.”
Posts shared in the group included maps and referred to the planned protest at the Capitol building as the “Wild Protest” and stated, “Congress cannot certify this fraudulent Electoral College.”
The FBI interviewed Homol’s mother in late January, who said her son was “on vacation” but provided no other information. The FBI interviewed Homol by phone who said he was in Washington D.C. from Jan. 5 to Jan. 7, having traveled there after snowboarding in North Carolina for a time.
In his interview, Homol claimed he was “forced” into the building by the crowd, did not witness any violence and only stayed in “the middle” of the Rotunda for 15-20 minutes before exiting.
Homol “stated that law enforcement were not giving any public service announcements to leave and (he) did not feel he did anything wrong.”
According to public records, Homol is a registered Republican. Court and voter records indicate he resides at a canal-facing home in Cocoa Beach.
Homol has no prior criminal history besides a few traffic infractions where adjudication was withheld and a non-criminal boating offense conviction, Brevard court records show.
So far, 314 federal cases have been brought against individuals involved in the Capitol Riot, according to the latest count by George Washington University’s Program on Extremism. 269 are men, 45 are women, the average age is of suspects is 39. More than 80% of cases contain evidence from social media, according to the program.
At least 29 people have been arrested in Florida as of Thursday, of which 21 in the Middle District of Florida. Three are from Brevard. Only Clay and Marion counties have as many cases.
Homol, aged 22, is the youngest locally. Steve Omar Maldonado, 40, of Palm Bay faces similar charges and is also out on bond. Titusville resident Kenneth Harrelson, 40, a member of the far-right Oath Keepers militia, is one a handful of suspects facing the most serious charges so far — conspiracy — he was denied bond Monday.