Rioters rally at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. (AP File Photo / Jose Luis Magana)

By Michael Kunzelman and Denise Lavoie,
Associated Press

A man who served a prison term for joining torch-toting White nationalists in marching through the University of Virginia’s campus in a 2017 rally has been arrested on charges that he stormed the U.S. Capitol and attacked police officers. 

Tyler Bradley Dykes, 25, of Bluffton, S.C., was arrested in Charlottesville, Va., and made his initial court appearance on July 17, according to court records. A federal judge ordered Dykes held in custody until a detention hearing on July 18.

Videos captured Dykes tearing down police barriers, attacking officers outside the Capitol and stealing a riot shield during a mob’s attack on Jan. 6, 2021, an FBI affidavit says.

Dykes previously was charged in a Virginia state court with illegally participating in the August 2017 march on the night before the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville. Far-right extremists clashed with counter protesters on the streets of Charlottesville, Va. before an Ohio man linked to a White supremacist group plowed his car into a crowd, killing 32-year-old civil rights activist Heather Heyer.

In May, Dykes pleaded guilty to a state felony charge of burning an object with the intent to intimidate and was sentenced to 5 years in prison, with 4.5 years suspended. He was given credit for time he served in South Carolina while awaiting extradition to Virginia and finished serving his state sentence on July 17.

An FBI task force officer met and interviewed Dykes around January 2019 “regarding his potential ties to domestic extremist groups,” the officer wrote in an affidavit for the Jan. 6 case. Dykes may still have ties to extremist groups such as the South Carolina-based “Southern Sons Active Club,” the federal agent said.

Active clubs are a network of White supremacists who “see themselves as fighters training for an ongoing war against a system that they claim is deliberately plotting against the White race,” according to the Anti-Defamation League.

In December 2021, the FBI received a tip from somebody who said Dykes had boasted about attacking officers at the Capitol. The tipster told the FBI that Dykes said he went there for “fun” and wanted to “make a statement.”

Dykes was wearing a gray gaitor over his face as he marched to the Capitol with two other people. Video shows him joining other rioters in tearing down barriers and attacking police officers on the east side of the Capitol, the FBI affidavit says.

Dykes stole a riot shield and raised it over his head before police deployed pepper spray toward him in an unsuccessful attempt to subdue him and regain control of their shield, according to the FBI. Dykes paraded around the interior of the Capitol building with the stolen shield, the FBI said.

The charges against Dykes include interfering with police during a civil disorder.

An attorney from the federal public defender’s office was assigned to represent Dykes at his initial court appearance in Roanoke, Virginia. That lawyer said he can’t comment on the charges.

This article was originally published by the Associated Press. Kunzelman reported from Silver Spring, Md. Lavoie reported from Richmond, Va.