A sign at Caldwell home

A sign by a barn outside the Wadesville Road home of insurrection suspect and alleged Oath Keeper Thomas Edward Caldwell on Tuesday. The Clarke County resident was arrested and charged with violently entering the U.S, Capitol on Jan. 6 along with members of the far-right extremist group.

BERRYVILLE — Insurrectionist suspect and alleged far-right militia member Thomas Edward Caldwell is active in Clarke County Republican politics.

Caldwell and his wife Sharon are constituents of Del. Dave LaRock, R-Hamilton, who said on Tuesday that he has known them since he took office in 2014.

"Tom is a wonderful man. He and Sharon have been very supportive of me," said LaRock, who represents Virginia's 33rd District, which includes parts of Clarke, Frederick and Loudoun counties. "Tom has served our country in a long and distinguished career in the U.S. military. I think very highly of Tom and Sharon."

LaRock said he was at the Jan. 6 rally in which President Trump urged supporters to "fight like hell" to overturn President-elect Joe Biden's victory. He said he didn't see the Caldwells in the crowd, but noted there were thousands of people there. 

LaRock said he saw people invading the Capitol, but didn't see the contingent of eight to 10 people in paramilitary equipment that the FBI says were the Oath Keepers, the militia Thomas Caldwell is allegedly part of. LaRock emphasized he didn't participate in the insurrection.

"I don't know what constitutes the Capitol grounds, but I certainly didn't enter the Capitol," LaRock said. "I walked from the ellipse to the Capitol building, and I don't what the difference between The Ellipse, the [National] Mall and the Capitol grounds are."

LaRock said Thomas Caldwell never told him he was part of the Oath Keepers. Caldwell's criminal complaint describes the group as a "large, but loosely-organized collection of militia who believe that the federal government has been co-opted by a shadowy conspiracy that is trying to strip American citizens of their rights." The Oath Keepers are comprised of current and former police and military members, according to the Virginia Oath Keepers website. Thomas Caldwell is a retired Navy officer, according to a 2019 obituary in The Winchester Star for his father.

The Caldwells were part of a group that asked the Clarke County Board of Supervisors in December of 2019 to defy proposed state gun safety laws that were passed a month later by the legislature, according to the board's meeting minutes. The audience asked the board to become a "Second Amendment sanctuary," a symbolic designation which has no legal force.

In March, the Caldwells were chosen to be delegates to the county's Republican convention in Berryville. Greg Valker, county Republican Party chairman, didn't return calls about the Caldwells on Tuesday.

The probable cause for Caldwell's arrest relies heavily on Facebook posts he allegedly made, according to the complaint, written by FBI Special Agent Robin M. Meriweather.

In a post at 7:47 p.m. on Jan. 6, Caldwell allegedly posted a video on Facebook from inside the Capitol and two minutes later he purportedly boasts about invading it, according to Meriweather.

"Us storming the castle. Please share. Sharon is right with me! I am such an instigator!" the post said. "She was ready for it man! Didn't even mind the tear gas."

On Tuesday, Thomas Caldwell's Facebook page skipped from June 19, 2019, to Jan. 8 of this year. His posts after the insurrection include references to phony allegations of election fraud and insults about Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Caldwell also warns about "FF" at state capitols over the weekend, where small groups of heavily armed pro-Trump militias showed up including in Richmond. FF is an abbreviation for false flag operations in which a group poses as members of a rival group to discredit them. Some Trump supporters have falsely alleged the insurrection was a false flag operation and the insurrectionists weren't really Trump supporters.

No one answered the door at the Caldwell home on Tuesday afternoon, but a sign by a barn said Trump Country.

— Contact Evan Goodenow at egoodenow@winchesterstar.com

(46) comments

john brown

Looks like we have found that Deep State the rightwingnuts are always searching for and speaking of ...who knew it was always them... no mirrors on the right?...lol

Jim McCarthy

Having read the article three times, I was not able to identify any egregious bias or even a hint thereof. The reporter was clear to employ terms like allied and suspected. In addition, there was a citation to meeting minutes. I guess supporters of the extremists who voiced chants about killing Congressfolk and overturning an election by violence is to be expected. It’s also expected that those who break the law are to be arrested and prosecuted. Ideology is a pernicious disease causing political blindness.

Spock Here

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Billie Mac

Does that apply to BLM and antifa? Where were you this past summer? Asleep maybe?

john brown

Once more goat ... BLM and Antifa did not commit treason by trying to take over the Capitol and kill pence, Speaker Pelosi, cops and others congresspersons. BLM and Antifa did not try to carry out a coup d etat (look it up). Let me go at this another way with you...it's like the difference between your drunk in public charge and your manufacturing and using meth charge. Hope that helps! President Joe Biden!

Billie Mac

Hey moron!

Did you miss this part - "It’s also expected that those who break the law are to be arrested and prosecuted."?

Once again, I have to point out that Democrats are liars and hypocrites.

john brown

goat, goat must one sink to the level of grade school name calling.... were is the unity..lol

Billie Mac

Sorry. I lose my civility when I am continually attacked by hypocritical liars.

Bryan.the.Nuri

@Goat, do you often lose your civility when you read your own posts?

ernie1241

Letter from Birmingham Jail , By Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., 16 April 1963

"First, I must confess that over the last few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Council-er or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can't agree with your methods of direct action;" who paternalistically feels he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by the myth of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a "more convenient season."

Chris 22602

LaRock has always been a scumbag along with Blaine Dunn who sucks up to him at every chance he gets. But are we surprised? LaRock is currently facing charges of his own. Dunn endorsed a candidate for school board whose husband was a child molester. Yet Dunn and LaRock parade around pretending to be Christian. History will look back and wonder how so many people blindly followed the GOP, turning a blind eye to the words of the Bible, in pursuit of white supremacist ideologies. Jesus was a radical liberal who fought for all people. Let’s return to those ideals and away from the racist ideologies of the Trump GOP. Let’s vote out LaRock, Dunn, and the rest of the radical right and restore the party to one that actually values all human life and stands for fiscal restraint and religious freedom.

Spock Here

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jimamerican

Chris's comments about people blindly following the GOP typify the mindset that will probably prevail, at least among Democrats, until those of us who will work to restore the Republican party to a state of legitimacy and respect begin to succeed. Not all Republicans blindly follow Trump's brand. Many of us voted for him because the Democrats' policies are simply unacceptable to us, and we had no alternative to Trump, other than not voting or throwing away our votes on a third party candidate. Those who paint all Republicans with a Trumpist brush is like Republicans calling all Democrats socialists. Both are wrong. Please try to recognize that moderates and reasonable people exist on both sides. And it's us who will eventually bring civility and unity back in this country, apparently despite all the hatred from the fringes.

john brown

"Not all Republicans blindly follow Trump's brand." not all, just 95%

Spock Here

Seems so with congress anyway.

john brown

first we handle the coup d etat appropriately. which should be bipartisan, and then we talk about unity. personally, I wouldn't trust a republiclan as far as I can throw one. how do you trust people that will vote, for any reason, for a racist pathological liar. I stay away from people like that.

Spock Here

Broad brushes are unfortunate on both sides, I agree. In this case, however, it's not the voters I see most people stereotyping, it's the party before country types in congress excusing a president's behavior until the worst happened and they didn't even attempt that "checks n balances" thing we count on. The majority of this country is moderate after all.

john brown

January 20,2021 ..What a wonderful day!

john brown

"LaRock said Thomas Caldwell never told him he was part of the Oath Keepers"...so larock is not just a bigot, he is a lying bigot. If you believe caldwell never bragged about his senior position with treasonous "oath" keepers, you are a graduate of tRump university and therefore certified tRump stupid

Chupacabra

This article is so completely biased, it's laughable. The fact that the usual suspects are supporting it as factual and correct does not surprise me. BLM good, Trump supporters bad. [whistling]

john brown

Black Lives do Matter! tRump is a treasonous incompetent fool...what's biased about that.

Bryan.the.Nuri

Friend of yours?

Oh, what am I thinking? You cant have friends. That would mean you're a real person!

john brown

Well, well, well ...there was a very active traitor and his treasonous wife in our mist. This guy tried to overthrow the US government I guess to keep control of larock's "colored people". He needs to be tried and when convicted hanged. If we had hang lee, jackson, davis etc etc etc, this country would be far better off and I doubt if we would have had to suffer under the racist incompetent tRump regime.

Mich229

Those who forcefully entered the capitol where wrong and their actions should be condemned. It is also just as wrong and seditious to call any Trump supporter or anyone who was at the rally a seditionist or to accuse them of wrong doing. This article is a disgrace and obviously written by a far left mouthpiece. We have watched our country torn apart by radical left insurrectionists for the past year and nothing was done or said. If you are going to accuse people, accuse all those who are guilty. The left claims they want reconciliation and peace. Well, that does not appear to be the case. Every American needs to respect the law and follow it, no matter their political affiliation, color or creed.

john brown

We want peace but reconciling with tRump treasonous racists, no, we do not want that. They first need to admit it and be held accountable for their treason and racism.

ernie1241

In my experience, the people (like yourself?) who complain the loudest about "radical left insurrectionists" and about BLM or ANTIFA --- have no public record of EVER supporting reform movements nor do they have ANY public record of speaking out against social or economic injustice. Apparently, some people think "law and order" means passively accepting every depredation, every depraved indifference to human life, every abuse of police authority, and every murder of un-armed people. God forbid that Americans should stand up and register their disgust and contempt for the status quo -- UNLESS they attack our Capitol and want to overthrow our government. THEN, its ok to tear our country apart.

"Reconciliation and peace" is based upon TRUTH and ACCOUNTABILITY. Peace is not the absence of conflict.

As MLK Jr. pointed out "True peace is not the absence of conflict.... but the presence of justice" AND

“If peace means a willingness to be exploited economically, dominated politically, humiliated and segregated, I don’t want peace. If peace means being complacently adjusted to a deadening status quo, I don’t want peace. If peace means keeping my mouth shut in the midst of injustice and evil, I don’t want it. Peace is not simply the absence of conflict, but the existence of justice for all people.”

ernie1241

Incidentally, historically, MOST of the politically-inspired violence in our country during the past 50 years (i.e. murders, attempted murder, assault, bombing, arson, lynchings, castrations, etc.) have been by RIGHT-WING fanatics. For details see:

https://sites.google.com/site/aboutxr/right-wing-violence

Robina5

The reporter’s comment above, stating that “The Caldwells were part of a group that asked the Clarke County Board of Supervisors in December of 2019 to defy proposed state gun safety laws that were passed a month later by the legislature, according to the board's meeting minutes. The audience asked the board to become a "Second Amendment sanctuary," a symbolic designation which has no legal force” is a typical misleading comment by our media today. A “group”? “defy” the law?

That Dec. 19th “group” – and I was there, the only person actually speaking in the public hearing for a school budget carry-over item – was comprised of over 500 people, not only filling up the entire meeting room, spilling over to the lobbies on all floors, and with people crowded into the parking lot as well – and with parked cars parked everywhere all the way back to Berryville’s Main Street. This 2nd amendment gathering was composed of Clarke residents. They were quiet, well behaved, and 47 of them spoke for their 3 minutes each allowed, on the importance of the second amendment, politely asking for a resolution, which was subsequently approved by the Supervisors.

In the 40 years I have resided in Clarke, and serving on various boards, including the School Board during the contentious years of trying to get a new high school built, never have I seen such a large, but peaceful gathering of residents legally petitioning for their rights, and against the breach of our country’s Constitution 2nd Amendment – it was impressive.

Trying to portray it in such an unfavorable light, only confirms to me that alas, the Winchester Star has now joined the MSM in ignoring facts, and spinning the truth to fit their narrative, instead of honestly reporting events on both sides – it’s become far too easy for the media to smear people with innuendo.

Don Specht

The media is the problem ... that old gag.

ernie1241

I seriously doubt that you have any genuine knowledge re: the history of our second amendment.

The earliest known legal commentary on the meaning of our Second Amendment is contained in St. George Tucker's Notebooks. Tucker was an influential Virginia Judge who delivered law lectures shortly after the Second Amendment was ratified. Tucker thought the Second Amendment was a concession made to Anti-Federalists to address their fears that the state militias might be disarmed.

No state constitution during our founding era, asserted a right to keep arms. Nor did the Second Amendment declare the right to keep arms apart from the obligation to bear them as part of the militia.

In 1787-1788, seven of the states that ratified the proposed Constitution did so on the condition that Congress give consideration to adding several amendments if and when it went into effect. These states proposed 124 amendments, NONE of which mentioned the right to bear arms but several of which mentioned the fear of a standing army.

When Madison sat down to write what became the Bill of Rights in the summer of 1789, those 124 proposed amendments served as the basis for his deliberations. He distilled from them an essence of 12 amendments, subsequently reduced by the states to 10. The Second Amendment represented Madison's attempt to respond to the fears of a standing army by assuring that national defense would reside in the states and in militias, not at the federal level in a professional army. The right to bear arms derived from the need to assure that state militia could perform its essential mission

Spock Here

Well if good ol Dave thinks he's "fine", that tells us a lot.....

Bryan.the.Nuri

LaRock has no moral compass.

Doc Samson

Remember how the Left cried "Insurrection!" every time they took over a capitol building? Yeah, neither does anyone else. Double standards are the best standards...

Bryan.the.Nuri

Big difference between people being murdered for no reason and a spoiled brat trying to overthrow an election.

Doc Samson

Feel free to share what he said or did to overthrow the election...

As always, when the fascist Left does something... excuses 'til the cows come home... [thumbup]

Spock Here

well there was that "perfect" phone call to the GA governor sounding like a mob boss...oh, and those poor discarded Q supporters who were in there saying hang pence after trump tweeted about "disloyal" pence. Oh, then Mitch said it best, but, I guess you don't listen to THAT rino any longer.....Want more? read

ernie1241

Doc, if you seriously do not know about all the stuff which Individual-1 actually did or attempted to do to overthrow the election, then there is something VERY defective about your intellect.

(1) Former Atty General Barr stated emphatically that there was no evidence of any widespread or significant voter fraud which would change any election result. Then Barr resigned---probably because Trump wanted him to do something illegal. So Trump appointed Acting AG Jeffrey Rosen and Trump told him to do something to overturn the Georgia election results. Rosen refused and when the top echelon of the US Justice Dept threatened to resign en masse, then Mob Boss Trump relented.

(2) Trump called the Secretary of State of Georgia to pressure him into "finding" 11,780 votes that did not exist. Georgia's vote were counted THREE times---including once by hand and the result never changed.

(3) Mob Boss Trump told his willing insurrectionists to march on our Capitol to put pressure on Mike Pence to "do the right thing" -- by which Mob Boss Trump meant to perform some act which Pence had no legal authority to do. Trump's mob chanted "Hang Pence" and they built a makeshift scaffold to indicate what they wanted to do. It probably would have been better for our country if Pence HAD been found by the mob and publicly hanged because, maybe (but only maybe) Trump admirers would have finally had a clarifying moment of reality re: the monster which Mob Boss Trump incited and welcomed.

slowe

Link to WaPo article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/legal-issues/conspiracy-oath-keeper-arrest-capitol-riot/2021/01/19/fb84877a-5a4f-11eb-8bcf-3877871c819d_story.html

slowe

See the Washington POST today for a story about him and others. Details! Traitors ! https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/legal-issues/conspiracy-oath-keeper-arrest-capitol-riot/2021/01/19/fb84877a-5a4f-11eb-8bcf-3877871c819d_story.html?utm_campaign=wp_main&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook&fbclid=IwAR0vuq6-rOHQEQQjlt9wYeTGmmgG8XoIGZocEqlDkxInA5aBUt3PJtxzO7s

Billie Mac

Biden is a traitor. Investigate Biden-China collusion.

StellaBob

you are a sad sad human!

Bryan.the.Nuri

You're a coward. Can we investigate you?

libertyspirit

Nice hit piece. There is no such thing as a Navy lieutenant colonel.

Bryan.the.Nuri

Hit piece? Besides the military error, what is untrue?

slowe

I suspect he and wifey are not the only traitors in our midst. Who else will be charged? Who else has gone over to the dark side? Who else is gullible to false and wild false stories and paranoid delusions? Which neighbors? Which cousins? Even which elected politicians?

Bryan.the.Nuri

Maybe the delegate would like to assist in Caldwell's defense? Or at least call the Clarke registrar and offer to pay for an investigation into Caldwell's wife?

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