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Grand jury indicts Navy petty officer on three new felony counts alleging unregistered silencers

Hatchet Speed, already charged in the Capitol riot, was expected to make his initial appearance in federal court in Virginia Wednesday.

WASHINGTON — A U.S. Naval Reserves petty officer charged with entering the U.S. Capitol Building on Jan. 6 was indicted this week on three new felony charges alleging he possessed unregistered silencers.

The indictment, unsealed Wednesday in the Eastern District of Virginia, alleges Hatchet Speed, of McLean, possessed three unregistered firearm suppressors, also known as silencers. Speed was scheduled to make his initial appearance in that case before a magistrate judge Wednesday afternoon.

Although silencers are legal to own in more than 40 states, including Virginia, they are subject to the same federal regulations as short-barreled rifles and machine guns under the National Firearms Act. Purchasing a silencer requires a $200 ATF tax stamp and filling out a registration form that includes information about the person transferring the silencer – including their Federal Firearms License number, if applicable – the person receiving it, the model and serial number of the silencer, and a series of questions about the receiver or purchaser’s background.

Under federal law, failing to properly register a silencer is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Credit: Department of Justice
Hatchet Speed, of McLean, Virginia, was arrested on four misdemeanor charges in connection with the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot.

Speed, a petty officer first class in the U.S. Naval Reserves, was charged in June with four misdemeanor counts for allegedly entering the Capitol as part of a pro-Trump mob on Jan. 6. According to court filings, at the time of his arrest, Speed was assigned to the Naval Warfare Space Field Activity at the National Reconnaissance Office in Chantilly, Virginia, and was also employed as a software developer for a Vienna, Virginia, company that conducts advanced analytics for the Department of Defense.

In an affidavit filed with the court, an FBI special agent said financial records showed Speed had purchased at least a dozen firearms in the five months after Jan. 6 – which an undercover FBI employee described as “panic buying.” In total, Speed allegedly purchased more than $50,000 worth of firearms and equipment at firearms stores in multiple states, including Texas, Tennessee, Florida, Missouri, Minnesota, Georgia, Idaho and Utah. During a search of his home in Virginia in June, FBI agents reported seizing eight firearms and seven suppressors.

According to the FBI special agent, Speed also made numerous statements praising the writings of the “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski and Eric Rudolph, the man known as the “Olympic Park Bomber,” as well as Islamic jihadists and Adolf Hitler – who he allegedly described as “one of the best people that’s ever been on this Earth.”

Following his arrest in June, Speed was released on home detention with location and GPS monitoring and ordered not to possess firearms. In a filing Wednesday, prosecutors said they intended to ask the judge in the Eastern District of Virginia to impose the same release conditions on Speed in the silencers case. Speed is being represented by the Federal Public Defender’s Office in his Jan. 6 case.

We're tracking all of the arrests, charges and investigations into the January 6 assault on the Capitol. Sign up for our Capitol Breach Newsletter here so that you never miss an update.

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