Larry Rendell Brock Jr, the Grapevine man facing federal charges for his role in the riot at the U.S. Capitol last week, was released from custody Thursday after a prosecutor asserted in court earlier in the day that the retired Air Force officer should be detained as a threat to the public claiming he carried plastic zip-tie handcuffs in the riot because he intended to "take hostages."
"He means to take hostages. He means to kidnap, restrain, perhaps try, perhaps execute members of the U.S. government," Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Weimer said of Brock, without providing specifics.
Brock was arrested by the FBI on Sunday and was charged with knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.
Before his arrest, Brock, 53, told The New Yorker magazine that he found the zip-tie cuffs on the floor and that he had planned to give them to a police officer.
"I wish I had not picked those up," he said.
There was also no evidence presented that Brock had a firearm on the day of the Capitol riot.
The prosecutor argued that Brock should be detained, but Magistrate Judge Jeffrey L. Cureton said he would release Brock to home confinement under the conditions that he surrenders any firearms and only be allowed limited internet access.
"I need to put you on a very short rope," Cureton said. "These are strange times for our country and the concerns raised by the government do not fall on deaf ears."
The judge warned violations could add more federal charges.
Following the hearing, Brock was taken to the Parker County Jail and released -- he made no comment as he rushed into a waiting car Thursday afternoon.
It is not yet clear if Brock was required to post bond before being released.
Investigators said images showed Brock on the Senate floor of the U.S. Capitol. In one of the photographs, he's seen wearing body armor and a helmet while holding zip-tie restraints.
Dallas FBI Special Agent John Moore was the only witness to take the stand Thursday.
U.S. Capitol Riot
He testified that Brock, who appeared in court in a light green jumpsuit, a mask, and with shackles at his hands and feet, was once fired from a job for making racist and threatening comments. The agent also testified to social media postings by Brock where he said, 'I bought a helmet and body armor for the civil war that is coming.'
Prosecutors argued because of his military background, skills and actions he should be detained as a threat to the public. The prosecutor did not detail a specific plan by Brock but noted: "his prior experience and training make him all the more dangerous."
Weimer also read in court social media posts from Brock, including one posted on the day of the Capitol riot that said: "Patriots on the Capitol. Patriots storming. Men with guns need to shoot their way in."
Weimer read a termination letter from Brock's former employer that said he had talked in the workplace about killing people of a "particular religion and or race." Weimer also read social media posts in which Brock referred to a coming civil war and the election being stolen from President Donald Trump.
U.S. Capitol Riot
Weimer said Brock's posts also referenced the far-right and anti-government Oath Keepers and the Three Percenters, a loose anti-government network that's part of the militia movement. The Oath Keepers claim to count thousands of current and former law enforcement officials and military veterans as members.
The FBI agent though testified there was no evidence beyond the social media posts that Brock was involved with either of those groups.
Brock's attorney, Brook Antonio II, noted that Brock has only been charged with misdemeanors. Antonio said there was no direct evidence of Brock breaking doors or windows to get into the Capitol, or doing anything violent once he was inside.
"It's all talk. It's all speculation and conjecture," said Antonio, who noted Brock's long service in the military, including being reactivated after Sept. 11 and his four tours in Afghanistan.
U.S. Capitol Riot
The judge agreed the charges were not enough to hold him.
More than 100 people have been arrested in the Capitol riot, with charges ranging from curfew violations to serious federal felonies related to theft and weapons possession.
The FBI has been investigating whether some of the rioters had planned to kidnap members of Congress and hold them hostage.
Antonio asked an FBI agent who was testifying whether it was possible Brock had just picked up the cuffs, and the agent acknowledged that was a possibility.
Judges across the country, including some nominated by Trump, have repeatedly dismissed cases challenging the election results, and Attorney General William Barr has said there was no sign of widespread fraud.