WASHINGTON — A Thomasville woman who is a former officer with the High Point Police Department was among six people indicted by a federal grand jury this week in connection with the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, according to a news release from the Department of Justice.
Laura Steele, 52, was arrested on Wednesday in Greensboro.
She and five others, who the Department of Justice said are all associated with an organization known as the Oath Keepers, are charged with conspiracy to obstruct Congress, among other charges.
The other five people arrested are:
- Graydon Young, 54, of Englewood, Florida
- Kelly Meggs, 52, of Dunnellon, Florida
- Connie Meggs, 59, of Dunnellon, Florida
- Sandra Ruth Parker, 62, of Morrow, Ohio
- Bennie Alvin Parker, 70, of Morrow, Ohio
These six individuals were added as co-defendants to a superseding indictment filed today in United States v. Thomas Caldwell, Donovan Crowl, and Jessica Watkins.
The superseding indictment alleges that Kelly and Connie Meggs, Young, Steele, and Sandra Parker donned paramilitary gear and joined with Watkins and Crowl in a military-style “stack” formation that marched up the center steps on the east side of the U.S. Capitol, breached the door at the top, and then stormed the building, the release said.
According to the superseding indictment, Kelly Meggs is the self-described leader of the Florida chapter of the Oath Keepers, of which Connie Meggs, Young, and Steele also are alleged to be members.
In late December, the indictment alleges, Kelly Meggs wrote in a Facebook message, “Trump said It’s gonna be wild!!!!!!! It’s gonna be wild!!!!!!! He wants us to make it WILD that’s what he’s saying. He called us all to the Capitol and wants us to make it wild!!! Sir Yes Sir!!! Gentlemen we are heading to DC pack your s***!!” He went on to state, “[W]e will have at least 50-100 OK there.” According to the indictment, around the same time, Young allegedly arranged, for himself and others, training by a Florida company that provides firearms and combat training.
The indictment alleges that Sandra and Bennie Parker traveled with Watkins and Crowl from Ohio to Washington, D.C. In the lead-up to the attack on the U.S. Capitol, Bennie Parker allegedly communicated extensively with Watkins about potentially joining her militia and combining forces for the events of January 6.
The indictment alleges that, in making plans for the events of January 6, Kelly Meggs made statements, similar to those made by Watkins and Caldwell, that his group would not need to be armed for the attack on the U.S. Capitol, because there would be a “heavy QRF 10 Min out[.]” The abbreviation “QRF” is alleged to refer to “quick reaction force,” a term used by law enforcement and the military to refer to an armed unit capable of rapidly responding to developing situations, typically to assist allied units in need of such assistance.
In the aftermath of the attack on the U.S. Capitol, Caldwell and Young tampered with documents or proceedings by unsending and deleting Facebook content, the indictment alleges.
The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Counterterrorism Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division with assistance from the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Middle District of Florida, the Middle District of North Carolina, and the Southern District of Ohio.
The FBI is looking for individuals who may have incited or promoted violence of any kind. Anyone with digital material or tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or submit images or videos at www.tips.fbi.gov.