Gainesville man arrested in Jan. 6 Capitol riot

Ronald Vincent Loehrke, 30 of Gainesville, was arrested Friday, Dec. 3, 2021, for charges related to the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot. 
Credit: U.S. Department of Justice

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Ronald Vincent Loehrke, 30 of Gainesville, was arrested Friday, Dec. 3, 2021, for charges related to the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot. Credit: U.S. Department of Justice

In the continuing investigation into the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot, the FBI Friday arrested another suspect with Georgia ties after investigators discovered text messages between him and a leader of the Proud Boys.

According to court documents, Ronald Vincent Loehrke, a 30-year-old Hall County resident, is accused of civil disorder and entering a restricted area. Loehrke’s and his co-defendant, 53-year-old James Haffner of Rapid City, S.D., also are accused of entering the Capitol during the riot and conflicting with police. Both men lived in the Seattle, Wash., area at the time of the riot.

Loehrke and Haffner allegedly marched on the Capitol, overwhelming the small Capitol Police force, and pulled down barricades while waving protesters forward and encouraging them not to stop.

“Don’t back down, patriots,” Loehrke reportedly said to the crowd. “The whole (expletive) world is watching. Stand the (expletive) up today.”

According to prosecutors, Loehrke and Haffner marched to the doors on the Capitol’s east side, where Haffner allegedly “sprayed an aerosol substance at U.S. Capitol Police officers who were trying to guard the doors.” Once rioters breached the doors, prosecutors say Loehrke was caught on video and in still photos “in a confrontation with police” inside the office of Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon.

Authorities also claim Loehrke coordinated with Proud Boys leader Ethan Nordean in the days before the riot and promised to bring three “bad mother (expletives)” with him to Washington. Nordean, who faces separate charges related to the riot, allegedly texted Loehrke that he wanted him “on the front line” with him.

“Sounds good man,” Loehrke texted back, according to court records.

Loehrke made an initial appears in federal court Friday and was released on $10,000 recognizance bond.

Since January, authorities have arrested about 675 people for crimes related to the riot.

Loehrke is the 16th person with Georgia ties to be arrested, but he only recently moved to Georgia, buying a house in May near Lake Lanier, according to property records. At the time of riot, Loehrke lived in Kent, Wash., a suburb of Seattle, but he is originally from Toledo, Ohio.

Public records and articles reviewed by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution strongly suggest that Loehrke served in the military, which would make him a prized recruit for the Proud Boys, a right-wing, street-fighting group that is pro-Trump.

A record search shows a Ronald Loehrke with an address at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., and a 2012 newsletter from the Marine’s 1st Marine Logistics Group based at the camp includes an interview with a Lance Cpl. Ron Loehrke, then 21, also from Toledo. In addition, records show Loehrke bought his home in Gainesville with a loan from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

In August, Loehrke registered a business with the Georgia Secretary of State called Warrior Ethic LLC.