Kyle Fitzsimons held racist beliefs and was vocal about his political views, but never expressed a desire to be violent toward government or the police, according to two people who provided the FBI with information about the first Maine resident charged in the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot.
He also told state lawmakers in 2018 that he had moved to Maine to escape “multi-cultural hell holes” and that they were doing nothing as immigrants moved to the region and were “killing off yankee New England culture,” according to a press report from the time.
Fitzsimons, 37, of Lebanon is charged with four federal crimes: knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, violent entry and disorderly conduct on U.S. Capitol grounds, assault on a federal officer and attempting to obstruct law enforcement during a civil disorder. A civil disorder can be the obstruction of any “federally protected function,” including Congress’ Jan. 6 counting of the electoral votes from November’s election, according to an FBI affidavit filed in federal court after Fitzsimons’ arrest.
Fitzsimons made his first court appearance remotely Friday afternoon from the Cumberland County Jail. He told U.S. Magistrate Judge John H. Rich III that he understood the charges against him. Fitzsimons was not asked to enter pleas because he has not yet been indicted by a federal grand jury. Rich also appointed Federal Defender James Nixon to represent him in Maine.
Rich ordered Fitzsimons be held without bail until 1:30 p.m. Thursday when a bail hearing will be held. Federal prosecutors have asked that he be held without bail because he’s charged with violent crimes and is a flight risk. U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services will interview Fitzsimons and his friends and family to determine if and under what conditions he might be released.
On Jan. 7, the day after the riot, Fitzsimons called into the remote meeting of the Lebanon Town Council, which was broadcast on YouTube. He said that he had been in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 5 and 6, and that he was on the Ellipse when former President Donald Trump maintained, without evidence, that the election had been stolen from him, the FBI affidavit said.
Fitzsimons, who worked as a butcher, said he believes that “Trump is a lion leading an army of lambs through ‘lawfare.’”
After Trump’s appearance at the rally, Fitzsimons went to a parking garage and put on a costume consisting of a butcher’s jacket and an unstrung bow that may have also included a fur pelt, according to the affidavit. He told the Rochester Voice, an online newspaper in New Hampshire, that he carried an unstrung bow as a sign of his peaceful intent.
Fitzsimons allegedly twice charged at a line of Metropolitan Police Department officers who managed to fight him off. One struck Fitzsimons on the head with a baton, according to the FBI’s affidavit.
He told the newspaper that he got caught up in the crowd and was pushed forward to the line of police officers in front of the Capitol.
“I was pressed into the front two times … the only way out was to get hit by police or pepper sprayed,” he told the paper. “Police in riot gear clubbed me. Then I was pulled out by people on the side.”
Fitzsimons said in the interview that he was bleeding from his head but helped down the steps of the Capitol by some good Samaritans who took him to an ambulance. The wound was closed with six stitches.
Fitzsimons told the paper that he went to the rally where President Trump and others spoke and was inspired by what he saw.
“I saw people of every faith, color and creed,” he said. “There were tons of people who spoke that were from Cuba, Vietnam and China that had fled communism. They were all begging attendees to wake up and understand how corrupt things had become here.”
That appreciation for diversity is in stark contrast to a statement he reportedly made in April 2018 at a hearing before the Legislature’s labor committee on a bill to fund a $390,000 job training and welcome center for immigrants in Lewiston.
During that hearing, Fitzsimons, described then as a resident of Kittery, said he had moved to Maine from Rhode Island and New York to escape what he called “multi-cultural hell holes,” according to a report in the Free Press, a midcoast newspaper.
“We are being replaced. And I’ll level this at all of you because you’re sitting elected officials during the opioid crisis that’s affecting Maine and killing us all. Killing off yankee New England culture,” he said, according to the paper. “You’re doing nothing about it. No, you’re bringing in the new Third World. You’re bringing in the replacements.’”
Fitzsimons has no criminal history, according to the Maine State Bureau of Identification.
But he is “person of interest” in the investigation into the suspicious package left outside the Portland Museum of Art on Jan. 23, according to Newscenter Maine.
Police last month said the package consisted of feathers surrounding a box. There was also a spray-painted message on the sidewalk reading “BALM.”
Surveillance footage showed a light-colored pickup truck parking near the museum around 11 a.m. that day. A man left the truck and placed the package in the museum’s vestibule, then drove off, police said.
Lt. Robert Martin, spokesman for the Portland Police Department, confirmed to the TV station that Fitzsimons was being investigated in connection with that incident.
Martin did not immediately return a request for confirmation from the Bangor Daily News.
Fitzsimons also opposed a proposed “red flag” bill at a hearing before the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee on April 22, 2019. The bill would have allowed family members, police and others to petition judges to take dangerous weapons away from people found to be a danger to themselves and others. That bill was sponsored by then-Sen. Rebecca Millett, D-Cape Elizabeth.
On the one page paper Fitzsimons filled out opposing the legislation, Fitzsimons wrote: “Rebecca Millet’s (sic) travesty is unconstitutional and make a bully out of ME.”
Millett’s bill failed but a more limited compromise supported by Gov. Janet Mills and some guns rights groups passed. It allows police and district attorneys to petition courts to take people’s guns if a mental health professional determines they are dangerous.
Fitzsimons did not testify at a hearing on that legislation.
Once Fitzsimons appears before a judge in Maine the case will be transferred to Washington, D.C.
If convicted, Fitzsimons faces up to eight years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000 on the most serious charge of assault on an officer.