‘I’m gonna hurt you bad:’ Capitol suspect made repeated threats before riot, FBI says

Jonathan Munafo accused of calling 911 more than 140 times on Jan. 5

FBI: Jonathan Munafo (left) at the Capitol on Jan. 6
FBI: Jonathan Munafo (left) at the Capitol on Jan. 6 (Copyright 2021 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

ORLANDO, Fla. – A man accused of taking part in the riot at the U.S. Capitol earlier this year has been taken into custody in Orlando, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Records show Jonathan Munafo is in custody and made his initial appearance in federal court at 1:45 p.m. Monday.

According to a statement of facts from the FBI, on Jan. 6 Munafo was caught on video hitting a Capitol police officer twice in the head with his fists and then taking the officer’s shield.

Munafo was also seen trying to break a window on the Capitol with a wooden flag pole, according to investigators.

FBI: Photos of Jonathan Munafo during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot (Copyright 2021 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

On March 18, the FBI released pictures of a man, later identified as Munafo, citing him as one of the top ten most wanted people from the Capitol riot.

On April 16, records show a man contacted the FBI who identified Munafo from the pictures agents had put out, claiming to have known Munafo for 20 years. Investigators said they also tracked down Munafo’s social media accounts, matching his profile picture to those taken during the riots.

Additionally, Munafo gave an interview to a TV station in New Hampshire in February in which he appeared to be wearing the same jacket seen in the pictures from Jan. 6, according to the FBI. During the interview, he was identified as John Munafo on air.

Investigators said Munafo has a New York driver’s license. It is unclear what he was doing in Orlando at the time of his arrest.

FBI: Photo of Jonathan Munafo taking a Capitol police officer's shield during the Jan. 6 riot (Copyright 2021 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

An FBI criminal complaint filed on Jan. 21 sheds light on other accusations against Munafo.

According to that report, Munafo called the Calhoun County 911 line 143 times on Jan. 5 and demanded to speak with a deputy or sergeant.

In those calls, Munafo told a 911 operator he knew where she lived and that he would maim or kill her and her family, records show. Munafo is accused of telling her, “[P]ut a (expletive) cop on the phone now you stupid (expletive), or it’s going to go way worse for your family,” as well as, “(Expletive), I’m gonna cut your throat. I’m gonna make you eat your (expletive) nose. I’m gonna hurt you bad for this. It won’t be today, it won’t be tomorrow, it’ll be (expletive) soon, though, you stupid (expletive). Insurrection Act, I’m coming to your door first and it’s public knowledge, you stupid, stupid (expletive),” and, “Each one of these calls are gonna be like a charge, right? I’ll never see a judge.”

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Information uncovered during a search warrant showed that Munafo placed those calls on Jan. 5 while at a truck stop in Dunn, North Carolina, agents said. That same day, he also made Google searches for “Freedom Plaza, Washington, DC,” “Calhoun sheriff Michigan,” and for firearm and military surplus stores, according to the complaint.

Federal investigators said Munafo is also accused of threatening to shoot a man at a highway rest stop in Salisbury, Massachusetts on Sept. 14, 2020. Records show he was driving a vehicle covered in Trump bumper stickers and he was tracked down by his license plate number.

He was ordered to appear in court and never showed up but instead called the state police in Newberry, Massachusetts 21 times on Sept. 22, 2020, to yell vulgar things and express how upset he was about getting in trouble for the Sept. 14, 2020 incident, according to the report.

The Detroit News reports that Munafo is from Albany, New York, and that he was arrested in Florida after a manhunt. While that information isn’t listed in the FBI criminal compliant, it does state that Munafo did a Google search for Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer days before the riot.

Several arrests were made last year of men investigators say are anti-government extremists who wanted to kidnap Whitmer because they were angry over her coronavirus policies.

On Jan. 6, a mob of former President Donald Trump supporters pushed past police and entered the Capitol building as lawmakers were preparing to certify Joe Biden’s presidential win. Five people died during the violence: Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick and four demonstrators.

Hundreds of arrests have been made thus far, a number that includes several Floridians.

Among the most notable local suspects are a Sanford firefighter, a Proud Boys organizer and a Marion County man who was previously convicted of attempted murder.

Three others -- Connie and Kelly Meggs and Kenneth Harrelson -- are accused of plotting their actions ahead of Jan. 6 through phone calls and online conversations as members of the Oath Keepers.

Anyone with information about someone who was involved in the riot can find details about how to report them here.

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About the Authors:

Thomas Mates is a digital storyteller for News 6 and ClickOrlando.com. He also produces the podcast Florida Foodie. Thomas is originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania and worked in Portland, Oregon before moving to Central Florida in August 2018. He graduated from Temple University with a degree in Journalism in 2010.