Video was released on Monday showing alleged Antifa member Benjamin Anthony Varela, of Olympia, WA being arrested and charged with first-degree assault while armed with a deadly weapon.
On Sept. 4, a couple dozen Antifa from around the Pacific Northwest traveled to the Washington state Capitol building to try to shut down an anti-COVID vaccine mandate protest. The black-clad group was met by the rally’s volunteer right-wing security, who included Proud Boys members. When the Antifa group ran to the Intercity Transit Station, one of their masked members turned around and fired five 9mm pistol rounds in the direction of the right-wing group, which was about 50 feet behind, according to security footage. Proud Boys member Tusitala Toese was injured in the shooting.
Police obtained a search warrant for the property Valera shared with his girlfriend and found a handgun under the bed.
The arrest video was recorded on Sept. 23rd but released by The Journal of Olympia, Lacy & Tumwater on Monday. The Journal reports the 36 year-old Valera was originally arrested for malicious mischief following an investigation into vandalism at a local tattoo parlor. Authorities matched Valera’s tattoos on his left forearm with those found of the shooter on the surveillance video.
Through much of the arrest video Valera invokes his right to remain silent.
"I'm also right now, placing you under arrest for assault - first, for shooting another individual in the city of Olympia, downtown at the IT transit center, fair enough?" an officer says. Valera does not respond but stares blankly ahead.
Fox News reports that Varela is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America who “Prior to deleting his Twitter account, his bio read, 'professional anarchist, thug, and paid protester.' His YouTube account, which is still online but doesn’t have any videos available to the public, features a red and black Antifa flag as its profile image.”
Varela is being held on $100,000 bail with his arraignment set for Oct. 5.