Social media trail led investigators to Capitol riot suspect in Nashville

Tennessee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Capitol riot suspect Eric Munchel appeared via video conference before a federal judge in Nashville Monday afternoon.

Munchel was arrested Sunday in Nashville and is facing two federal charges, accused of participating in the riot at the U.S. Capitol.

At his request, the judge appointed Munchel a lawyer and set a hearing for Tuesday the 19th in the case. He will remain in the state’s custody for now.

An affidavit shows that it was a social media trail, surveillance and clothing worn by the suspect that connected federal investigators to Munchel.

The images have been shared widely, a man believed to be Munchel is seen inside the senate chamber, carrying plastic restraints or zip ties, an item in a holster on his right hip and a cell phone mounted on his chest with the camera facing outward.

The affidavit saying his baseball cap is manufactured by Black Rifle Coffee Company depicting a rifle and a flag. He is also wearing a Tennessee “thin blue line” patch. The affidavit points to a man wearing these same items as being recorded the same day as the capitol breach on a live stream video in a D.C. hotel lobby and also walking on the capitol grounds.

In the video and in some of the images the man is seen with a woman who authorities have identified as Lisa Eisenheart, who has also been identified in multiple reports as Munchel’s mother.

Investigators linked the man to Munchel through his Facebook account which was active until Saturday night. That account showing a number of photos backing up authorities in the investigation.

One of the pictures showed Munchel wearing a Kid Rock t-shirt, and connected Munchel to the honky tonk in downtown Nashville. An attorney for the restaurant and bar telling News 2 that Munchel was a former employee that was terminated several months ago.

The affidavit said law enforcement even encountered Munchel on January 6 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in D.C. The report says they interviewed Munchel and that he said he was wearing a black and yellow taser pulse, telling them he carried it for protection and admitted that he participated in the pro-Trump rally.

The TBI said Munchel doesn’t have a criminal history in Tennessee, but we have learned he faced prior charges in Georgia. Records show Munchel faced a battery charge in Georgia in 2015 and charges for possession of marijuana and speeding in 2011.

According to a law enforcement database, Munchel has had his current Nashville address since September of 2019 and was issued a Tennessee driver’s license in July of 2020. His hearing is set for January 19.

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