A man seen carrying a handgun on the steps of the Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection is a far-right Arizona activist involved in spreading COVID-19 misinformation.
An investigation by The Daily Beast based on research provided by anti-insurrection activists has identified Luke Philip Robinson as the individual in FBI poster number 343 soliciting tips about a man seen at the Capitol on January 6.
The vast majority of those at the Capitol during the insurrection were not carrying any visible firearms. By contrast, Robinson is one of the few people at the Capitol on January 6 who can be seen armed with a gun tucked onto his left hip in footage from the riot.
Robinson has not been charged with a crime.
When asked whether the FBI had interviewed Robinson in connection with the poster, a spokesperson said the bureau’s policy prohibits it from commenting on ongoing investigations and directed questions to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, DC.
A spokesperson for the US Attorney’s Office said in a statement that “We typically do not comment on cases or investigations beyond what is publicly stated or submitted to the Court. We have no comment for your report.”
When reached by phone, Robinson initially claimed The Daily Beast had reached the wrong phone number and that he was not Luke Robinson. He called back shortly afterward from the same number and confirmed he was Luke Robinson but declined to answer questions about Jan. 6 and his presence at the Capitol.
The activists who initially identified Robinson—and have asked to remain anonymous—spent weeks scouring public records and open sources to find the name of the man seen in FBI wanted posters.
Robinson might have remained unidentified if not for an appearance at a Sept. 24 protest in Arizona against the state’s COVID-19 restrictions and in support of the state GOP’s conspiracy-addled election “audit.” In a video of the protest posted to YouTube, Robinson is visible wearing the same Farm Boy-brand oilskin “Freedom” hat seen on the armed suspect on Jan. 6.
Robinson wore the same hat in a profile photo for a Telegram account linked to his phone number.
At the Capitol, Robinson was also visible wearing a black and white bandana with the word “Salida” written across it. Activists were able to trace the cloth to a July 2020 promotional bandana from Colorado’s Chaffee County, home to the towns of Salida and Buena Vista. Robinson had been tagged by a friend in an Instagram photo of Salida, Colorado which noted the two men’s “summer adventures” there.
Footage of Robinson on Jan. 6 shows the distinctive grip and magazine of a coyote tan SIG Sauer P230 handgun sticking out above his pants beneath a denim jacket. Robinson’s appearance in footage of the riot with an apparent firearm puts him among a select group of people in attendance at the insurrection, only a handful of which are known to have carried firearms at the time.
Robinson appears only in a few seconds of footage near the inaugural scaffolding as rioters pushed into the Capitol building itself. The only other apparent footage of Robinson in Washington, D.C., at that time is dated the day after the riot, where Robinson makes a brief appearance in the background of a video depicting another January 6 suspect filmed at the Lincoln Memorial.
In one video of the crowd outside the inaugural scaffolding, a handgun is evident sticking out above Robinson’s pants before he pulls his shirt and denim jacket over top of the weapon.
Two firearms experts told The Daily Beast they could immediately identify the weapon as a Sig Sauer P320 semiautomatic pistol.
“It’s a P320. It has to be,” said Ryan Busse, a former gun industry executive who recently wrote a tell-all book called Gunfight: My Battle Against the Industry That Radicalized America.
The FBI first solicited tips about Robinson as the man in its 343 poster in May 2021 but removed the poster with his identification number and picture in September without explanation.
Prior to the riot, Robinson also demonstrated both a fondness for carrying handguns and a preference for the same left-handed “appendix carry” position seen in footage of him at the Capitol on Jan 6. During a May 10 rally “to combat COVID-19 medical censorship and cancel culture” in Phoenix, Arizona by America’s Frontline Doctors, a pro-Trump COVID-19 conspiracy activist group, Robinson appears in a video wearing an “Arrest Fauci & Gates” with a handgun tucked into his right hip.
The video stems from Robinson’s pre-Jan 6 association with a militant anti-vaccine and anti-mask group, the Antimaskers Club, run by founder Ethan Schmidt. Throughout the pandemic Schmidt recorded himself harassing local businesses and patrons for adhering to public health measures like mask-wearing. In one particularly notorious incident, Schmidt filmed himself haranguing employees and customers at an Arizona store that sells wigs for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment.
Robinson appeared in anti-mask videos posted to social media, occasionally alongside Schmidt. In one Antimaskers Club video from May, Robinson recorded himself attempting to disrupt a school board meeting. In another video posted to the YouTube channel of Micajah Jackson—a former Marine and far-right Arizona activist charged with participation in the Capitol insurrection—Robinson and Schmidt are visible harassing patrons in downtown Tempe, Arizona for wearing masks.