KEY WEST, Fla. – A Marathon couple arrested by federal agents Monday on charges related to the Jan. 6, 2021 riots at the U.S. Capitol faced a federal judge in Key West Tuesday afternoon.
Authorities took husband-and-wife Bryan Roger Bishop, 51, and Tonya Bishop, 47, into custody at Marathon City Marina, located at 800 35th St. Ocean, Monday evening, sources told Local 10 News. The pair lived aboard a boat prior to their arrest.
Bryan Bishop is accused of spraying a chemical irritant at two police officers while Tonya Bishop is accused of trespassing in the Capitol building during the attack, perpetrated by supporters of then-President Donald Trump with the aim of overturning the 2020 presidential election.
The pair made an initial appearance on a host of federal charges Tuesday as they faced Judge Lurana S. Snow at the Sidney M. Aronovitz U.S. Courthouse. Both suspects wore tan jumpsuits, were shackled at the hands and looked somber.
The pair didn’t enter a plea and were released on $100,000 signature bonds — requiring them to simply sign paperwork and agree to follow pre-trial court orders, rather than post any money.
Warrants outline allegations
According to arrest warrants, Bryan Bishop, whom open-source websites dubbed the #UnderHelmetSprayer, was identified through photos posted online by the FBI and through a check of photos from driver’s licenses from Florida, Minnesota and Idaho, along with a passport application.
He’s accused of assaulting two Washington, DC Metropolitan Police Department officers with a chemical irritant.
“After spraying the first officer, A.A., directly in the face, BISHOP sprayed the second officer, B.S., in the face shield and then aimed at an upward angle in order to spray under B.S.’s face shield and directly into his face,” the warrant states.
The warrant states that Tonya Bishop, who authorities said was seen on surveillance footage entering the Capitol, was heard on a recorded phone call telling her son, a prison inmate, “On the sixth, Trump has called The Patriots together, a bunch of us are headed over there.”
Authorities said she was identified by matching surveillance images with a Washington state driver’s license photo.
Bryan Bishop faces the more serious charges of the pair, including assault on a police officer with a deadly and dangerous weapon, engaging in physical violence on a restricted building or grounds and engaging in an act of physical violence on the Capitol grounds.
Meanwhile, Tonya Bishop faces charges, including entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds, disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds, plus charges of disorderly conduct and illegally demonstrating at the Capitol building.
Couple speaks after court
Local 10 News spoke to the couple as they were released from the Monroe County Jail on Stock Island Tuesday, following their court appearance.
Bryan Bishop recounted Monday’s arrest.
“It was a little dramatic,” he told Local 10 News reporter Janine Stanwood. “They came in with a tactical team and drones and all kinds of s---.”
That came after Stanwood asked Bishop about his actions at the Capitol.
“Did you think it was a patriotic act?” Stanwood asked.
“I am not saying anything else about it,” he replied.
During Tuesday’s court appearance, Tonya Bishop told Snow that she does small marine-related jobs like repairing canvas, while her husband said he was unemployed and living on disability and military retirement. Snow found they qualified for a court-ordered public defender.
In addition to living on a boat, the Bishops told her that they were fixing up another boat to eventually sell.
Leaving jail Tuesday wearing an ankle monitor, Tonya Bishop proclaimed her innocence.
“Maybe remind your viewers that we are still innocent and due process has not yet been served,” Tonya Bishop said.
Judge sets bond conditions
In addition to requiring ankle monitors, Snow ordered the pair to surrender their passports along with any weapons they may have. She also ordered they refrain from mortgaging or selling any assets.
The Bishops agreed to make their first appearance in Washington, D.C. federal court on Aug. 17 at 1 p.m.
More than 1,000 people have been charged in connection to the Jan. 6 riots. Florida leads the nation in Jan. 6 arrestees with more than 100 charged so far.