November 28, 2023

A general view of Lehigh County Jail where retired firefighter Robert Sanford was due to appear before a federal judge on January 14, 2021 in Allentown, Pennsylvania in connection with the riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Mark Makela | Reuters

A retired Pennsylvania firefighter was arrested and charged Thursday with crimes related to the January 6th Capitol riot in which he allegedly hurled a fire extinguisher that hit three Capitol police officers in the head.

55-year-old Robert Sanford was identified by a friend in a widespread video as the man who threw the fire extinguisher into a group of police officers surrounded by supporters of a ferocious mob President Donald Trump outside the Capitol.

The cops hit in the head did not include cop Brian Sicknick, who died a day after being hit by rioters.

The friend told the FBI Tuesday that Sanford, who recently retired from the Chester Fire Department, had told him that he was wanted as an attacker on the video, according to a document released by the US Attorney’s Office in Washington.

Sanford had also told his friend that he had traveled to Washington DC with a group of people on a bus to attend a January 6 rally on The Ellipse where President Donald Trump spoke and urged supporters to join him at his Efforts to help reverse Joe Biden’s presidential election victory, the document reads.

The group, including Sanford, “then followed the president’s instructions and went to the Capitol,” the document says.

At that time, Congress held a joint session to confirm Biden’s election as president.

Sanford, who lives in Boothwyn, Pennsylvania, has been charged with knowingly entering or staying in a restricted building or compound without legitimate authority to attack disorderly or disruptive behavior for reasons of the Capitol, civil disorder and certain officials, resistance to perform or hinder them while they are employed in the city fulfillment of official duties.