A retired NYC firefighter faces charges over the Capitol breach after texting his girlfriend's brother — a federal agent — a selfie from the riot

A retired NYC firefighter faces charges over the Capitol breach after texting his girlfriend's brother — a federal agent — a selfie from the riot

January 23, 2021
  • Thomas Fee, 53, texted his girlfriend's brother a selfie from the Capitol rotunda during the January 6 riot, saying he was "at the tip of the spear," per a criminal complaint.
  • Fee's girlfriend's brother works for the US Diplomatic Security Service, and forwarded the evidence to authorities.
  • Federal authorities later charged Fee in connection to the Capitol breach. Fee turned himself in to authorities on Tuesday.
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A retired New York City firefighter was charged in connection to the Capitol breach after texting his girlfriend's brother, a federal agent, a selfie showing him inside the building's rotunda during the riot, according to a criminal complaint.

Thomas Fee, 53, turned himself into authorities Tuesday morning, according to the New York Post.

The 22-year veteran of the New York City Fire Department faces charges of knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, according to the complaint.

The criminal complaint details how the wife of an unnamed special agent with the US Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) — the federal law-enforcement arm of the State Department — first saw a post by Fee's girlfriend on Facebook, saying Fee was at the pro-Trump rally.

The special agent proceeded to text Fee, his sister's boyfriend, to ask him if he was in Washington, DC, according to the complaint. 

The complaint said that Fee responded by sending a selfie to the special agent, showing him inside the Capitol rotunda as other rioters waved flags and took pictures behind him.

Fee also sent the agent a video from the rotunda in which other members of the mob can be heard yelling "Pelosi" and "tyranny," according to the complaint. 

Fee also texted the agent that he was "at the tip of the spear," the complaint said.

While the special agent initially deleted the communications, he was able to retrieve them and forward them to the DSS, according to the complaint. The DSS then sent the evidence to the Joint Terrorism Task Force.

It is not clear if Fee was aware that his girlfriend's brother was a special agent when he sent the selfie and messages.

A spokesperson for the New York City Fire Department confirmed to NBC New York that Fee was a veteran of the force who retired in October 2020.

The outlet added that he is currently a volunteer firefighter with the Freeport Fire Department on Long Island. 

WABC reported that Fee worked during the September 11, 2001, attacks and was honored for rescuing 13 people — including a pregnant woman and several children — during Hurricane Sandy in 2012. 

However, he was suspended from his role as a volunteer firefighter in Hempstead in 2004 for yelling racial slurs at a Black cardiologist who walked by the firehouse on a few occasions, according to WABC. 

Read more: Biden's inauguration will be held in a sad, military-occupied DC. Never forget how Trump got us here.

After his initial court appearance, Fee was released on $100,000 bond and ordered not to attend political gatherings or go to the US Capitol or other state capitols, WABC reported. He also had to surrender his two guns. 

Fee is among the more than 145 people who have been charged in the wake of the January 6 pro-Trump riot. 

The riot resulted in the Secret Service's ramping up protections for President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on Wednesday. 

Several of the arrests have included off-duty cops and firefighters, as well as current and ex-military members. 

The involvement of these law-enforcement officers and military members led the FBI to vet the National Guardsmen sent to DC to provide security for the inauguration.

The vetting has resulted in two Guardsmen being pulled off security for Biden for suspected ties to far-right groups, and ten more withdrawn for unspecified reasons.

Read the criminal complaint against Fee below: 

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