Hours later, Cua, 18, took to his Instagram account to clarify his involvement in the attempted insurrection, the FBI said in a criminal complaint unsealed Monday.
“Yes, for everyone asking I stormed the [Capitol] with hundreds of thousands of patriots,” the teenager from Milton, Ga., wrote. “I’ll do a whole video explaining what happened, this is history. What happened was unbelievable.”
As the Senate begins its impeachment trial against former president Donald Trump on charges of inciting the attempted insurrection, Cua’s messages included in the court documents paint the picture of a teenager who repeatedly credited Trump with inspiring his participation.
“President Trump is calling us to FIGHT!” Cua wrote on Parler days ahead of the Jan. 6 attempted insurrection, federal agents said, citing a tweet where Trump repeated baseless claims of election fraud and summoned supporters to D.C. “He knows this is the only way to save our great country, show up #January6th. It’s time to take our freedom back the old fashioned way.”
Neither Molly Parmer, an Atlanta-based attorney representing Cua, nor his parents immediately responded to messages from The Washington Post late on Monday.
The teenager, who has since made his Instagram account private, regularly posted about his love for guns, pickup trucks and ATVs, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Last May, the local paper reported, he posed with a rifle from the porch of a house, captioning the photo: “Shall not be infringed. What part of that is unclear?” accompanied by the hashtags #everydaycarry and #sniper. The paper also photographed him unfurling a large “Trump 2020” flag during a Republican rally outside the headquarters of the Georgia Republican Party last November.
In the complaint, federal prosecutors cite the New Yorker video, which law enforcement officers say they used to identify Cua, and his Jan. 6 Instagram post in which he allegedly wrote, “Yes, we physically fought our way in.”
Multiple law enforcement officers, including two who had “direct and indirect interactions” with the teenager, also identified Cua to the FBI, according to the criminal complaint.
Among the first tips that came into the FBI were screenshots of Cua’s Parler account, in which he allegedly “referenced plans to travel” to D.C. on Jan. 6. One tip mentioned that he “actively encouraged the events on the sixth for 11 days leading up to the domestic terrorist attack,” the complaint said.
Cua was caught on multiple videos inside the Capitol during the riot, federal agents said.
One video captured by the Capitol Police surveillance cameras on Jan. 6 shows Cua outside the Senate gallery, holding what appears to be a baton and his phone. Minutes later, in that same video, Cua can be seen shoving a Capitol Police officer in front of the door to the Senate Chambers before entering, the complaint said.
Once inside the chambers, the New Yorker video allegedly shows Cua responding to a man who ordered another not to sit in the vice president’s chair.
“They can steal an election, but we can’t sit in their chairs?” Cua asked.
Additional footage captured by the Capitol Police cameras shows Cua walking down the east corridor, still carrying the baton, and then trying to open a door, the complaint said.
In Georgia, Cua had at least one encounter with the police. In early December, officers cited the teenager for violating Milton’s public disturbance ordinance, the Milton Herald reported. Cua drove a pickup truck with a large Trump flag around the parking lot blaring his air horn, police said.
Cua told police he was “flying his flag” there because the parking lot was the only place where he could test it out, noting that he sped so his flag could flap in the wind.