PROVIDENCE — The man arrested after a midday armed standoff on Federal Hill just two weeks ago has been charged by the FBI in connection with the Jan. 6 riots at the US Capitol.
Timothy J. Desjardins, 35, of Providence, is the first Rhode Islander accused of violence at the Capitol. He was identified by FBI agents from videos on YouTube and body-worn cameras where he was seen attacking multiple officers with a broken table leg as they tried to stop a mob in the tunnel area of the Lower West Terrace at the US Capitol, according to a criminal complaint unsealed Tuesday in the US District Court for the District of Columbia.
Desjardins is facing six charges: assaulting police officers using a dangerous weapon or inflicting bodily injury, civil disorder, entering or remaining in a restricted building with a dangerous weapon, engaging in physical violence in a restricted building with a deadly or dangerous weapon, disorderly conduct in a Capitol building, and parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building.
Desjardins is currently being held without bail at the Adult Correctional Institutions on charges from a standoff on Federal Hill and a road-rage shooting, also on Federal Hill, this fall. No date has been set for his initial court appearance in D.C. to face the federal charges.
Desjardins also drew attention just after 2 a.m. on Jan. 7, when he tried to go over the chains on E Street behind the FBI’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., the complaint said. He handed an officer his Rhode Island driver’s license and said that he’d been at the Capitol, but didn’t go into detail. He had one or two hatchets in his backpack and “mentioned that he was good with them,” the court complaint said. The officer allowed Desjardins to leave because there were no active warrants for him.
Later that morning, someone reported to Metropolitan Police Department that a man who’d been sleeping outside 1200 G Street NW had left behind a backpack. The officer retrieved it and found the backpack had Desjardins’ ID and credit card, two walkie-talkies, three axes, clothing and prescription bottles, the court document said.
Meanwhile, open-source intelligence investigators at @capitolhunters and @seditionhunters combing through photos and videos of the attacks had singled out Desjardin back in February, dubbing him the #FlatCapAttacker. FBI’s Washington Field Office identified Desjardin as No. 348 in its “seeking information” photos.
Eventually, the FBI matched his photos from the video with his driver’s license photo, as well as his mugshots from the Providence Police Department and Rhode Island Department of Corrections, according to the criminal complaint.
The case is being investigated by the Providence Resident Agency of the FBI’s Boston field office and the FBI’s Washington field office.
Desjardins owns a barber shop called “We the People” at 374 Atwells Ave., on Federal Hill. That’s where he barricaded himself on Nov. 11, after patrol officers Ryan Malloy and Scott Campbell noticed he had a gun, according to police. Desjardins surrendered peacefully after an hour and a half of negotiations with police.
Providence Police Chief Hugh T. Clements Jr. said Tuesday that the federal case against Desjardins drove home the danger that officers and the public faced.
“After the fact, how even more fortunate we are that something worse didn’t happen to the two officers — two of our absolute best, as far as instincts on the street,” Clements said. “We are fortunate that scenario didn’t play out for the officers and the public.”
Desjardins was one of 26 people arrested in Providence on gun charges in November, Clements said. It was the second time in less than two months that Desjardins had been charged with gun violence. Desjardins had a Smith & Wesson .38 revolver at the standoff on Federal Hill. As a convicted felon, he is not allowed to have a firearm.
In early October, Desjardins was charged with shooting a stranger in the face after a road-rage incident in September in the Walgreens parking lot on Atwells Avenue, near his barber shop. He posted the $100,000 surety bail and was released, only to be arrested again after the standoff two weeks ago. He is now held as a bail violator.