I-Team: ‘Are you down for danger bro?’ Accused Capitol rioters arrested in Las Vegas planned for violence, prosecutors say

I-Team

Prosecutors reveal new details about what led up to Jan. 6

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — New court documents indicate two men arrested in Las Vegas for their alleged involvement in the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection planned for violence weeks before entering the building, prosecutors said.

In a superseding indictment filed earlier this month, prosecutors combined 32-year-old Nathaniel “Nathan” DeGrave’s and 34-year-old Ronald “Ronnie” Sandlin’s cases into one. Police arrested Sandlin outside of DeGrave’s Las Vegas apartment in late January.

On his Instagram, DeGrave identifies himself as the CEO of a celebrity event planner and adult model management company.

Records obtained by the I-Team indicate Sandlin lived in the Long Beach, California, area before moving to Las Vegas. On social media, Sandlin indicates he lived in the Las Vegas area, and several posts show him promoting a business in the area.

As the I-Team first reported last winter, Sandlin posted on Facebook in late December about who was attending President Donald Trump’s Stop the Steal rally. DeGrave replied that he was considering going as well and could join Sandlin on his drive from Memphis to Washington, D.C., prosecutors said.

“Yo sorry bro, I’m going back and fourth [sic] about going some people I respect are saying it may get dangerous,” Sandlin wrote to DeGrave in Facebook message on Dec. 30, prosecutors said. “Are you down for danger bro?”

“I’m bringing [sic] bullet proof clothing,” DeGrave responded, according to prosecutors.

Investigators say Nathaniel “Nathan” DeGrave (right) is seen in this still image wearing tactical gear and a red, white and blue bandanna. (KLAS)

The next day, DeGrave wrote on Facebook asking for recommendations for a person “who can shoot and has excellent aim and can teach me today or tomorrow.” When a person asked why, DeGrave responded that it was “for a very patriotic cause,” prosecutors said.

DeGrave and Sandlin then became organizing a trip with Josiah Colt, 34, of Ada County, Idaho, prosecutors said.

“Who is going to Washington D.C. on the 6th of January?” a post provided to authorities from Sandlin said. “I’m going to be there to show support for our president and to do my part to stop the steal and stand behind Trump when he decides to cross the Rubicon. If you are a patriot I believe it’s your duty to be there.” According to court documents, a post from Sandlin said he, DeGrave and Colt were asking for money for the trip through a GoFundMe page.

The men then discussed shipping guns to Sandlin’s Tennessee residence before driving to Washington, prosecutors said. Sandlin also said he was bringing a knife and small gun. Prosecutors also allege Sandlin and Colt bought a gun holster, gas masks and a helmet.

Investigators say Ronald “Ronnie” Sandlin was seen on video smoking marijuana inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. (KLAS)

Sandlin, DeGrave and Colt met in Tennessee and then drove to the Washington area in a rental car, prosecutors said. They also had ammunition, knives, a Taser, a baton, walkie talkies and bear mace, prosecutors said.

On the day of the riot, Sandlin, DeGrave and Colt met in a hotel room in Maryland and recorded video discussions for a social media audience. In one video, Colt mentioned a “debate we’ve been having for days now: should we carry our guns or not?”

DeGrave replied that “for the camera’s sake, we’re not going to carry.”

Later that day and before the attack on the Capitol began, the defendants created a video in which Sandlin called on “fellow patriots” to watch his live stream on social media. In the video, he stated four times that “freedom is paid for with blood.” He also stated that “there is going to be violence.”

As the trio approached the Capitol and as people illegally entered the building, DeGrave recorded a video saying, “They just breached the Capitol building. That’s it bro. It’s game time,” prosecutors said.

Shortly after arriving on Capitol grounds, the defendants their way into the Capitol. While inside, Sandlin and DeGrave pushed several U.S. Capitol Police officers guarding an exterior door to the Capitol rotunda, prosecutors said.

A photo submitted into evidence shows Ronald Sandlin inside the U.S. Capitol, prosecutors said. (KLAS)

After forcing open the door, the defendants went together up a set of stairs in search of the Senate Chamber.

The trio eventually reached the Senate Gallery where they encountered several USCP officers who were attempting to lock the doors to prevent rioters from entering. Sandlin and DeGrave tried to wrestle past the officers and eventually managed to enter the gallery — a balcony overlooking the Senate Chamber.

Colt climbed into the Senate Chamber and sat in a chair reserved for the vice president. While Colt was on the floor of the chamber, DeGrave shouted at him and others to “take laptops, paperwork, take everything.”

As the I-Team first reported last winter, before exiting the Capitol, Sandlin stopped to live stream himself smoking marijuana inside.

Nathaniel “Nathan” DeGrave

DeGrave and Sandlin have pleaded not guilty. Colt has reached a plea agreement in the case.

As the I-Team first reported last winter, a photo posted on DeGrave’s Facebook page, which is linked in court documents, shows a photo of former President Donald Trump in DeGrave’s apartment with the caption, “My idol in my living room.”

There is no evidence Sandlin voted in the November 2020 presidential election, an I-Team investigation revealed in February. DeGrave voted in the election, Clark County officials confirmed earlier this month. But no community where Sandlin is known to have resided, including Las Vegas, can find a record of him voting this past presidential cycle, the I-Team found.

Sandlin wrote he is writing a book about his experience and hoped to turn it into a movie.

“I’m in a cell block with all Capitol people,” Sandlin texted on March 30, court documents said. “I’m proud to call them my friends we stood up for what we believed in and sacrificed. I’m looking forward to being a free man again and hopping on my motorcycle and riding off into the sunset far away from people and their machinations.”

“I plan on having Leonardo DiCaprio play me :-),” Sandlin wrote. “I have so many stories to tell.”

According to prosecutors, Sandlin also attempted to sell footage of the riot before he was arrested.

During a detention hearing in federal court in February, Sandlin asked a judge to “have mercy on” him. The judge noted Sandlin owes $500,000 in back taxes.

Both DeGrave and Sandlin continue to be held without bail. They face charges of:

  • Conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding
  • Obstriuction of an official proceeding and aiding and abetting
  • Assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers and aiding and abetting (6 counts)
  • Civil disorder and aiding and abetting (2 counts)
  • Entering and remaining in a restricted building or ground
  • Disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds

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