An Iowa man arrested by the FBI earlier this month for taking part in the U.S. Capitol insurrection was allegedly part of a mob that assaulted a police officer, shot him with a stun gun and stole his badge, radio and ammunition while attempting to grab the officer’s service weapon, among other acts of violence, during the Jan. 6 siege.
Kyle Young, a 37-year-old father and Trump supporter from Redfield, a small Dallas County town in the Des Moines/West Des Moines metropolitan area, is the fifth Iowan to be arrested after attending the “Stop the Steal” rally-turned-riot that resulted in at least five deaths. Young is facing 12 federal charges, among them assaulting or impeding law enforcement, civil disorder and robbery.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Virginia Bruner argued Young should not be granted bail while he awaits trial, as he presents a danger to the public. On Wednesday, Des Moines Judge Celeste Bremer agreed, ordering that Young remain in custody.
The officer Young is alleged to have robbed and assaulted, Metropolitan Police Department Officer Michael Fanone, was dragged down the steps of the Capitol by a crowd of rioters on Jan. 6. Bruner said Fanone is “100 percent sure” Young was among the mob, and had attempted to grab Fanone’s gun and “threatened to kill him with it.”
Fanone was hospitalized after the insurrection with injuries stemming from the stun-gun attack, as well as a suspected concussion.
He wasn’t the only officer Young targeted that day, according to Bruner, who said video evidence from Jan. 6 shows Young attending the rally with his teenage son, throwing objects and flashing strobe lights at officers guarding a Capitol entrance and even trying to pull the helmet off an officer.
Exercising a search warrant, police found a T-shirt in Young’s house matching the one he’s seen wearing in the videos, in addition to “distribution-level” amounts of marijuana products, which he admitted to using daily.
His wife, Andrea Young, told authorities her husband isn’t a violent person, and had contacted an attorney and planned to turn himself in as soon he heard he may be arrested.
“He believed we should have free and fair elections, and they needed to prove to us this election was free and fair,” Andrea said, regarding her husband’s motivation for attending the Stop the Steal rally. She denied he was planning to attack Vice President Mike Pence or members of Congress, as other insurrectionists threatened before and during the riot.
Young has a history of arrests that preceded the events of Jan. 6. Court records accessed by the Des Moines Register show burglary, drug and firearms charges, and several probation violations in his past.
Of the five Iowans facing charges related to the Jan. 6 insurrection, three are accused of physical confrontations with police: Young; Doug Jensen of Des Moines, famous for chasing Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman up a flight of stairs, then facing down a line of police while showing off a fiery Q T-shirt; and Ankeny’s Salvador Sandoval Jr., charged with “assaulting, resisting or impeding [three] officers,” including trying to grab one officer’s riot shield.
The most serious charges facing the other two Iowans — Deborah Sandoval of Des Moines, Salvador Sandoval’s mother, and Leo Christopher Kelly of Cedar Rapids — are violent entry and disorderly conduct.
Kelly, 35, is the only person from eastern Iowa to be arrested for his role in the insurrection, and more is known about the beliefs that drove his actions than those of Young, the Sandovals or even Jensen, a self-professed QAnon believer. This is because Kelly, an internet services broker and frequent church mission trip participant, sat down for an interview with the anti-abortion website LifeSiteNews on the evening of Jan. 6, weeks before his arrest on Jan. 18.
In the seven-minute video interview, Kelly openly embraces the Big Lie that the 2020 election was rigged against Trump, and combines evangelical Christianity, Trumpian conspiracy theories and white nationalist buzzwords to try to explain why he took such drastic, felonious action earlier that day.
“This is a moment in U.S. history that, like, it’s not unlike the days at the beginning of the country,” Kelly says. “At some point there’s enough illegal behavior and there’s enough crimes against the Constitution being committed by elected officials it’s like, what are you supposed to do?”
“You reach a point — none of my institutions are working.”
Kelly said he was in the Capitol between 30 and 60 minutes, capturing video footage along the way.
“The Capitol is huge!” he marveled. “And it’s kind of weird — you get in there and, like, now we’re going to make our voices heard on, you know, the floor of the Senate or the floor of the House or whatever.”
In the Senate chamber, Kelly said a man with a bullhorn led the rioters in a prayer.
“He just consecrated to Jesus. That to me was the ultimate statement of where we are in this movement. There’s a flag that goes up, the appeal to heaven, and that was one of the original movements in what became the United States. We appeal to heaven. As individuals we are powerless. We’ve been betrayed by Congress, we’ve been betrayed by the judicial branch, we’ve been betrayed by our local governments, our mayors. What are we supposed to do?”
Amid the self-aggrandizing, Kelly does admit he had a few mixed feelings about trespassing on federal property.
“I’m kind of conflicted because, you know, you violate someone else’s space, you force your way into a building — in some ways that really feels wrong. But whose space is that? That really does belong to us. That should only be an absolute last resort. Maybe we shouldn’t have done that but you come to the end of your rope and you say, ‘What else am I supposed to do?’ and you get swept up in a movement and there’s a bunch of people running and doing this and all of a sudden … it’s not the logical mind that’s working any more and you’re just reacting to things and finally there’s a chance that you can be heard and you can have — your voice, patriotic voice, for the Constitution, for the legitimacy of votes — finally there’s a chance and we took that chance.”
“God will judge us for what we did. I’m redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ, right, like, there’s no judgement that stands against me. Perhaps I did something wrong, you know. I tried to be as respectful as I could while I was in there while still saying what I felt needed to be said. What else — wh-what were we supposed to do? What are Americans supposed to do? Like, no one will even listen to us, none of these people in Congress. Hello! Can you hear me now?”