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Pa. man accused of throwing fire extinguisher at Capitol police

The Associated Press
Capitol police officers in riot gear push back demonstrators who try to break a door of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

PHILADELPHIA — A retired Pennsylvania firefighter was arrested Thursday on federal charges that he threw a fire extinguisher that hit three Capitol Police officers during the violent siege on the Capitol last week.

Robert Sanford, who recently retired from the Chester Fire Department, was arrested on charges that include assault of a police officer, disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, civil disorder and unlawfully entering the Capitol.

The charges against Sanford are not related to the widely publicized attack on Officer Brian Sicknick, who also was attacked with a fire extinguisher during the siege and died.

Court documents did not show whether Sanford has an attorney who can speak on his behalf. A phone number for a listing in his name had been disconnected.

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Sanford is due in federal court in Philadelphia on Thursday afternoon, but authorities said the case will be prosecuted in Washington.

The FBI asked the public this week to help identify a man seen in video stills who wore a hat with the letters CFD, picked up a fire extinguisher and threw it at police outside the Capitol on Jan. 6. According to the charging documents, the extinguisher bounced off the heads of three officers, two of whom wore helmets.

Sanford, 55, traveled by bus with other people to the Capitol, according to documents. He told a friend when he returned home that he had been on the grounds for 10 minutes before leaving but did not mention throwing anything at officers, authorities said.

The friend saw the photos released by federal authorities and contacted police.