DFW Woman Who Joined Capitol Mob, Shared Video on Social Media Arrested, Faces Criminal Charges: FBI

In conversation with NBC 5, woman described incident at U.S. Capitol as a peaceful march, not an assault

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The Frisco real estate broker who was part of the group that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 and posted about it on social media was arrested Friday and is now facing criminal charges.

The FBI Dallas confirmed to NBC 5 Friday afternoon that Jennifer Leigh Ryan, also known as Jenna Ryan, surrendered and was taken into custody. The FBI confirmed to NBC 5 that she was released with standard pretrial release conditions but did not specify further. The FBI also said Friday afternoon that Ryan's Carrollton home was searched Friday.

In a statement Friday, FBI Dallas SAC Matthew DeSarno said the agency is “focused on identifying, investigating, and disrupting individuals who were involved in the siege of the U.S. Capitol and/or those who may continue to incite violence and engage in criminal activity locally.”

NBC 5 reached out to Ryan Friday afternoon, but she has not replied.

According to the unsealed criminal complaint obtained by NBC 5 Investigates Friday morning, the Frisco realtor is charged with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.

Another North Texan, 53-year-old Larry Brock, of Grapevine, faces similar charges after he was photographed on the Senate floor wearing armor, a helmet and holding zip ties. Brock was released Thursday on the condition he wears an ankle monitor, surrender his weapons and limit online activity.

In the complaint against Ryan, FBI special agent Amie Stemen said Ryan knowingly entered a restricted building where the Vice President was present and engaged in disruptive conduct in the Capitol with the intent to disrupt the session of Congress.

Photographs taken from Capitol surveillance included in the complaint, the FBI said, show Ryan at the doorway of and inside the restricted building.

jenna ryan
The FBI says video surveillance taken inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 shows Jenna Ryan, of Frisco, circled in red, at the doorway of the restricted building.

Stemen added Ryan posted on social media that "We're gonna go down and storm the capitol" and afterward added that "It was one of the best days of my life."

It's not yet clear if Ryan has been arrested in connection with the complaint.

The day after the riot at the U.S. Capitol, Ryan spoke with NBC 5's Scott Gordon via text. She described the incident at the Capitol as a peaceful march for freedom and said that allegations that it was an assault were "fakenews." She said she and four "actual patriots" who were "not antifa" flew to Washington D.C. because they were very upset about the "rigged election." 

"These are all American loving people who are so concerned about our freedom and the fact that the election has been stolen," Ryan wrote.

Ryan refused to say if she went inside the building, but said she had a video showing she and others hit with "teargas" that she would share with NBC 5 if she were compensated. 

In the complaint, Stemen said Ryan was tagged in a series of photographs on Jan. 5 that was posted by Brian Miller showing they were flying US Trinity Aviation to Washington D.C. Captions on the photographs said, "We're so excited! DC bound to #StoptheSteal."

In her text conversation with NBC 5 on Jan. 7, Ryan said she was traveling with Miller on a private jet. 

The FBI said following Miller's post on Jan. 5, Ryan posted multiple videos on her Facebook account that appear to have been taken on board a small aircraft "on which she was traveling with others to Washington D.C."

The next day, the FBI said Ryan again posted a video on Facebook where she was in front of a bathroom mirror stating, "We're gonna go down and storm the capitol. They’re down there right now and that's why we came and so that's what we are going to do. So wish me luck."

Later that day, the FBI said, Ryan posted a 21-minute Facebook Live video showing her and a group walking toward the U.S. Capitol building. The FBI said she then posted photographs of herself at the Capitol building on both Facebook and Twitter.

In the criminal complaint, the FBI said of particular note is an image she posted of herself to her Twitter account, which appears to show her in front of a broken window at the U.S. Capitol building, with the caption "Window at The capital. And if the news doesn’t stop lying about us we’re going to come after their studios next ..."

The FBI said open-source searches also uncovered videos posted to Facebook that were taken by Ryan as she entered the Capitol building via the Rotunda entrance.

The FBI said those videos were later deleted.

At the beginning of the live video, the investigators said Ryan is heard saying, "We are going to f---ing go in here. Life or death, it doesn’t matter. Here we go," as she approaches the top of the stairs in front of the doors to the Capitol. Investigators said Ryan then turned on her rear-facing camera, exposing her face, and said, "y’all know who to hire for your realtor. Jenna Ryan for your realtor."

Nearly nine minutes into the video, the FBI said Ryan was at the front door of the building, "clearly desecrated, with broken glass windows shattered and security alarms sounding" as she yells "U-S-A! U-S-A!" and "Here we are, in the name of Jesus!"

Once inside the building, the FBI said Ryan joined the crowd chanting "Fight for freedom! Fight for freedom!" and yelling, "This is our house!" At the end of the video, Ryan turns on her rear-facing camera again, showing her face inside the building, the FBI said.

Surveillance video recorded from inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 appears to show Ryan, wearing a Trump stocking cap, entering the building through the Rotunda with a crowd of others. The FBI said in one of the images they can see Ryan holding up her phone inside the building.

In the hours after the breach, the FBI said Ryan then got back on Twitter and posted: "We just stormed the Capital. It was one of the best days of my life."

In a statement Friday, FBI Dallas SAC Matthew DeSarno said the agency is "focused on identifying, investigating, and disrupting individuals who were involved in the siege of the U.S. Capitol and/or those who may continue to incite violence and engage in criminal activity locally."

DeSarno reiterated a recent statement from FBI Director Christopher Wray that said, "We do not tolerate violent agitators and extremists who use the guise of First Amendment-protected activity to incite violence and wreak havoc."

NBC 5's Scott Gordon and Allie Spillyards contributed to this report.

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