KNOXVILLE, Tennessee (WATE) – Two East Tennessee men planned to attack the FBI office in Knoxville and kill law enforcement officers involved in the investigation of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot American, according to an unsealed federal criminal complaint Friday.
Edward Kelley, 33, of Maryville, and Austin Carter, 26, of Knoxville, were charged with conspiracy, retaliation against a federal official, interstate communication of a threat and solicitation to commit a crime of violence. Both were detained.
In May, Kelley was arrested and charged with assaulting a law enforcement officer during the Capitol breach on Jan. 6, 2021. Investigators said he was the fourth person to enter the Capitol that day. -the.
The US Department of Justice said Kelley obtained a list of law enforcement personnel who had been involved in this criminal investigation and that the two discussed plans to kill people on the list during conversations with a cooperating witness. These plans included an attack on the FBI field office in Knoxville.
“Federal law enforcement officers put their lives on the line every day to protect the public,” said U.S. Attorney Francis M. Hamilton III. “Planning and threatening to use violence against them is one of the most serious crimes. This is absolutely unacceptable and will be vigorously investigated and prosecuted,” said U.S. Attorney Francis M. Hamilton III.
The case is being investigated by the FBI. Two assistant U.S. attorneys and two attorneys from the Counterterrorism Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division are pursuing the case.
“The FBI continually assesses the full range of potential threats that come to our attention, including those intended to harm office employees. The arrests were the result of an incredible team effort to across the division with our local, state, and federal partners.Partnering with the FBI Counterterrorism Division, the Department of Justice Counterterrorism Section, and the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Eastern District of Tennessee and the District of Columbia has been instrumental in the success of the operation. We remind the public to remain vigilant and to report suspicious activity, regardless of the intended target,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Joseph E. Carrico.
A preliminary hearing in the case is scheduled for Tuesday, January 3.
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