Jaco: Seditious St. Louis shows up for coup attempt

The St. Louis area was well-represented in the murderous mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol in a coup attempt, and in the seditious rally that preceded it. This surprised precisely no one.

These were not “protesters.” They are vicious white supremacist domestic terrorists. They were not trailer-trash goobers. They are middle-class real estate agents, tech recruiters, recent high school grads living with their parents, state representatives and talk radio hosts, marinated in a clotted stew of conspiracies, rage, racism, fear and hate.

They tried to overthrow a legitimate election, killed two police officers and caused the deaths of four of their own. They were met with insufficient force, trashed the Capitol building and were then allowed to leave Washington, scattering across the country where they’re slowly being rounded up thanks to photos, videos and tips from acquaintances.

St. Louis’ and Missouri’s being part of this is no shock to anyone who has lived here longer than ten minutes. As Harvard historian and Missouri native Walter Johnson outlined in his book “The Broken Heart of America: St. Louis and the Violent History of the United States,” almost every bad idea this country has come up with was incubated or perfected in St. Louis, from Native American genocide starting with Lewis and Clark and slavery enshrined through the Dred Scott decision, to the plot to murder Dr. King hatched in St. Louis and racist restrictive real estate covenants.

Missouri Rep. Justin Hill (left), a Republican who represents part of St. Charles County (District 108), with Marc Cox.
Unfortunately, as William Faulkner noted, the past isn’t dead; it isn’t even past. Take Missouri state Rep. Justin Hill, whose St. Charles County district includes affluent Lake St. Louis (more on that particular town later). Hill skipped his own inauguration in Jefferson City to attend TreasonFest in Washington on Jan. 6.

While there, he got together with former Channel 4 reporter turned right-wing propagandist Marc Cox, who hosts a daily show oozing disinformation on KFTK radio, 97.1 FM.

I can’t find any evidence that either Rep. Hill or Cox was part of the mob that actually smashed into the Capitol. They were apparently satisfied to merely take part in sedition and be coup-adjacent. 

The same can be said for Sandie Hea, a real estate agent who lives in the city and runs a Re/Max realty office in Brentwood.  First, Hea proudly posted photos of herself at the rally at which Donald Trump urged the crowd to march on the Capitol.

Hea then posted a response to a complaint from a fellow real estate agent, denying that she was part of a racist mob by using the phrase “the Negro race.”

Sandie Hea (foreground)

I messaged Hea about her involvement. Her response to me read, in part, “Be looking for the larger story. It’s not a movement, it’s a revolution!”

Emily Hernandez, a 2018 graduate of Sullivan High School in Franklin County, took the “revolution” part literally. A former track and field athlete in high school, Hernandez shoved her way into the Capitol building, where she helped ransack Speaker Nancy’s Pelosi’s office, and stood proudly inside the Capitol holding up a shattered piece of the sign from Pelosi’s door.

After hiding from the FBI for several days, Hernandez finally turned herself in to face five federal charges. Her attorney said Hernandez was “the girl next door.”  After her initial hearing, Hernandez, who lives with her parents, was released pending trial.

Emily Hernandez inside the U.S. Capitol during the pro-Trump riot on Jan. 6, 2021.
Notice the guy next to Hernandez, partly hidden by the smashed sign, wearing a yellow and white St. Louis Blues cap? So did I. A little scouring of photos from the mob that stormed the Capitol produced a few more of the same man. 

A man in a St. Louis Blues hockey team hat was among the pro-Trump rioters at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
I posted the photos on social media, asking if anyone knew him, since the Blues hat and his proximity to Hernandez hinted that he was probably from the St. Louis area.

Within only a few hours, I received messages from several of his acquaintances. They even forwarded a photo of him in the same hat posing next to the Stanley Cup at the NHL All Star Game in St. Louis in January 2020.

The man seen in a Blues hat during the pro-Trump riot on Jan. 6, 2021, is seen posing in St. Louis with the Stanley Cup after the Blues’ 2019 victory.
His acquaintances contacted the FBI. They identified him as a pro-Trump COVID-denier from Lake St. Louis who runs a tech recruiting firm.

I messaged him on Facebook with the photos, asking for an interview. He blocked me. Reporter Lauren Trager of Channel 4 phoned him about him being part of the coup attempt. He responded, “I’m not going to say anything about that,” and hung up.

Law enforcement sources confirmed to me they’re investigating him, but since he hasn’t yet been arrested and hasn’t yet been charged, I’m not identifying him by name. 

But known or unknown, these are just a few of the white upper-middle class extremist seditionists who listened to Trump, talk radio, and internet conspiracies, and thought trying to overturn a legitimate election was a good idea.

Trump may be gone. But the threat to our country that they represent is still festering.                 

Charles Jaco

Charles Jaco is a journalist and author. He has worked for NBC News, CNN, KMOX, KTRS, and Fox 2. He is best known for his coverage of the first Gulf War, and for his "legitimate rape" interview with Senate candidate Todd Akin. He is the winner of three George Foster Peabody Awards, and the author of four books.

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