CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WJZY) – A busload of more than 40 members of the militia group the Oath Keepers, rode in commercial buses to the Capitol ahead of the attack on Jan. 6, according to a new superseding indictment unsealed over the weekend.
The indictment names 16 co-conspirators, including former High Point Police Officer Laura Steele, who are accused of planning and coordinating the attack weeks before.
“Oathkeeper friends from North Carolina are taking commercial buses up early in the morning on the 6th and back same night,” one militia member wrote to another more than a week before the riots.
A few days later, another Oath Keeper wrote that they planned to “link up with the north Carolina (sic) crew.”
FOX 46 has previously reported that the FBI believes some members of the group trained at a camp in North Carolina.
“Most of these militias, especially Oath Keepers, are deeply embedded in conspiracy theories,” said Dr. Shannon Reid, a criminology professor at UNC Charlotte.
The indictment says members like Steele donned military-style equipment, including fatigues, helmets, and communication devices.
Video from that day shows a large group in a military formation called “the stack” snaking their way up the steps of the Capitol, walking single-file with hands on each other’s backs.
Because of strict gun laws in Washington, D.C., members discouraged bringing firearms to the Capitol.
Instead, the indictment says that the group set up a Quick Reaction Force, about 15 minutes outside of D.C. in Virginia.
“We will also have well-armed and equipped QRF teams on standby, outside DC, in the event of a worst-case scenario, where the President calls us up as part of the militia to assist him inside DC,” one member wrote to another.