An owner of several funeral homes on Long Island was arrested Wednesday on charges that he sprayed wasp killer at police officers and attacked journalists — including an Associated Press photographer — during the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol, authorities said.
Peter G. Moloney, 58, of Bayport, New York, faces numerous charges, including civil disorder and assaulting police officers, according to court documents. An email was sent to his defense attorney seeking comment, but there was no response.
He was released on a $100,000 bond after an initial court appearance, according to a spokesperson for the federal prosecutors' office in New York.
Dan Moloney, his brother and co-owner of Moloney Family Funeral Homes, said in an emailed statement that the “alleged actions taken by an individual on his own time are in no way reflective of the core values” of the business, "which is dedicated to earning and maintaining the trust of all members of the community of every race, religion and nationality.”
An FBI agent wrote in court papers that Peter Moloney appears to have come to the Capitol “prepared for violence,” with protective eyewear, a helmet and a can of insecticide — wasp, hornet & yellow jacket killer. Moloney was seen at the Capitol with a colleague, who authorities did not identify publicly.
Video shows him spraying the insecticide at officers who were desperately trying to beat back the angry mob and protect the Capitol, the agent wrote.
Authorities say video also shows Peter Moloney participating in an attack on an AP photographer, who was documenting the violence at the Capitol. Moloney grabbed the AP photographer's camera and pulled, causing the photographer to stumble down the stairs, the agent wrote. Moloney was then seen “punching and shoving” the photographer before other rioters pushed the photographer over a wall, the agent wrote.
Authorities say he also grabbed another media member's camera, causing that journalist to stumble down the stairs.
More than 1,000 people have been charged with federal crimes in the riot that halted the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory, and authorities continue to regularly make arrests more than two years later. Authorities are still working to identity a slew of rioters seen on camera storming the Capitol or engaging in violence.
Nearly 600 of them have pleaded guilty to riot-related charges, while more than 100 others have been convicted by judges or juries. More than 500 have been sentenced, with over half getting terms of imprisonment ranging from seven days to 18 years.
Richer reported from Boston. AP reporter Michael Kunzelman contributed from Silver Spring, Maryland.