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Colorado Pastor Charged in Connection with Capitol Riot After Former Bible College Classmate Tips Off FBI

Left: Tyler Merbler from USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Right: Screengrab via Twitter

Former youth pastor Tyler Ethridge, 33, was arrested in Denver on Friday (July 8) on suspicion that he was involved in the Capitol riot of January 6, 2021. The most damning evidence against Ethridge is content he posted publicly to social media himself.

A former Bible college classmate tipped off federal agents to Ethridge’s involvement. 

According to Insider, the former classmate told Federal police that Ethridge was “telling everyone” on Facebook about being “on scaffolding outside Nancy Pelosi’s office and inside the chamber.”

The former classmate attended Charis Bible College, a Woodland Park, Colorado, school founded by Andrew Wommack, where Ethridge was also a student. The classmate’s name has not been made public. 

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Ethridge flew with two other people from Denver International Airport to Philadelphia on January 4, 2021, and drove to Washington D.C. to attend former president Trump’s rally and participate in the subsequent storming of the Capitol building on January 6, according to the arrest report. 

The U.S. Attorney’s office said that Ethridge helped to remove barricades outside the Capitol Building and told the crowd to “keep fighting” as protesters engaged in a physical altercation with police guarding the Capitol. 

In one video Ethridge posted online, he can be seen getting pepper sprayed and shot with rubber bullets by Capitol police, who were attempting to disperse the crowd. 

“I’m probably going to lose my job as a pastor after this,” Ethridge later said in a video from inside the Capitol rotunda, his eyes still apparently suffering the effects of pepper spray. “But what is it going to take? … I think we’re to a point where talk is cheap. If this makes me lose my reputation, I don’t care.”

According to 9News, Ethridge was fired from his job as a youth pastor at a church in Florida less than two weeks later for his involvement in the Capitol riot.

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The U.S. Attorney further reported that in a September 24 social media post, Ethridge said, “Don’t be afraid of what they sentence you with. I’m not. I’m ready for whatever I’ll be charged with.”