After rioters breached the U.S. Capitol earlier this month, a photo surfaced on social media of a man and a woman wearing “Trump 2020” attire in what appeared to be the Capitol Rotunda, along with the words “Quincy made it inside,” the feds say.
Someone in a Facebook chat replied, “hope they lock yours [sic] a— up,” records show. And someone with the username “Christna Gerding” replied, “well since they let us inside; opened the door for us I think I’ll be just fine.”
Now Christina and Jason Gerding of Quincy have become the latest Illinois residents arrested in connection with the Capitol breach, according to the Justice Department. They were arrested Thursday in central Illinois, records show.
The records available Thursday evening did not explain the Gerdings’ relationship, nor did they identify defense attorneys for the pair.
Christina Gerding, who is 46, and Jason Gerding, who is 50, are at least the fourth and fifth Illinoisans charged as a result of the riot at the Capitol. But their case appears to be the first from Illinois to directly reference QAnon, described in an 11-page criminal complaint as “a loosely affiliated network and community of people who believe in a number of conspiracy theories. The letter ‘Q’ is utilized by its believers to identify themselves.”
A man from LaSalle County arrested earlier this week, Mathew Capsel, used the online moniker “Mateo Q Capsel,” records show. But the complaint against him did not specifically reference QAnon.
Federal authorities suspect Jason Gerding used a Twitter account with the tagline of “We The People Have Woken,” according to the complaint. They said the profile photo was of Donald Trump, and the background photo featured a “Q.”
On Dec. 18, someone posted to the Twitter account an image of President Abraham Lincoln along with the quote, “We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.”
A few days later, someone apparently used the account to tweet about the upcoming events at the Capitol on Jan. 6. Next, on the day after Christmas, someone used it to write, “So much disinformation coming out I don’t know what is real what is fake. I trust the plan…. I’ll be in DC Jan 6th, but my head is starting to hurt.”
Then, on Jan. 6, someone posted a photo on the Twitter account that allegedly depicts Jason and Christina Gerding in “Trump 2020” attire in the Capitol Rotunda, standing in front of the painting entitled the “Declaration of Independence” by John Trumbull.
The same day, a photo was also posted on a Facebook account with the username “Jason Gerding” of a bust of George Washington wearing a “Trump” hat.
Tipsters directed authorities toward the Gerdings, according to the complaint. One allegedly claimed to have known Christina Gerding for more than a year and confirmed that the Gerdings live in Quincy.
In addition to the Gerdings and Capsel, federal authorities have also charged Bradley Rukstales of Inverness and Kevin Lyons of Chicago. Another man, Louis Capriotti of Chicago Heights, has also been charged with threatening President Joe Biden’s inauguration.