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Stony Brook alum arrested for participating in Jan. 6 Capitol riot

Stony Brook University alumna Isabella DeLuca seen participating in the Jan. 6 riot. DeLuca is currently in custody for her involvement. PHOTO COURTESY OF OPEN-SOURCE VIDEO

Isabella DeLuca, a Stony Brook University alumna and conservative social media influencer, was arrested Friday for playing an alleged role in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot.

DeLuca was taken into custody on Friday, March 15 in Irvine, Calif. She graduated from Stony Brook in 2022 with a Bachelor of Arts in political science, making her a student at the time of the riot.

According to court documents, she was charged with storming the United States Capitol as a participant in the riot and for passing a stolen table through a broken window, which was allegedly used as a weapon against law enforcement by other rioters.

On Jan. 9, 2021, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) received an online tip identifying DeLuca as a possible suspect in the Jan. 6 riot. After opening an investigation, the FBI was able to confirm that she attempted to travel from New York City to Washington, D.C. via an Amtrak train on Jan. 5, supposedly in preparation for the riot.

However, her train broke down near Baltimore, Md. She was then picked up from the train and driven to Alexandria, Va. where she stayed at the Lorien Hotel & Spa, according to the FBI investigation.

Video taken by closed-circuit television cameras operated by the U.S. Capitol Police, as well as open-source video footage, showed a woman matching DeLuca’s appearance in multiple locations at the Capitol Building during the attack.

While the riot was taking place, DeLuca made a reply to a post on X (formerly known as Twitter) that read “Fight back or let politicians steal [an] election? Fight back!” The FBI chose to highlight this reply in their investigation.

DeLuca made several posts about the riot in the days after it took place. When one Instagram user asked why she supported the rioters forcing entry into the Capitol, DeLuca responded, “According to the constitution it’s our house.”

On Jan. 15, 2021, DeLuca told another Instagram user in a direct message that she supported the idea of former President Donald Trump enacting martial law to overturn the results of the presidential election.

“So it talks about how to save the election with all the fraud that’s happened,” she wrote. “I can see from the notes that he suggests martial law. If Trump declares martial law in 7 states, his campaign allies could take control of the state’s ballots & overturn the results of the election in Trump’s favor. Which would be ideal.”

DeLuca had also previously identified herself as an ambassador for Turning Point USA (TPUSA), an organization that advocates for conservative politics on the campuses of high schools, colleges and universities. A now-defunct chapter of the organization used to exist on Stony Brook’s campus, and in 2021 organized a demonstration protesting a mandate that forced students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to attend the university.

On March 19, 2024, TPUSA’s Executive Director Charlie Kirk defended DeLuca on his radio program The Charlie Kirk Show, saying that the reasoning behind her arrest was to intimidate young conservatives.

“Isabella DeLuca is being treated as if she is Timothy McVeigh,” Kirk said. “She’s facing federal prison time, and I imagine they selected her for a reason. They want to chill the growing young conservative movement in this country. They wanna put her on display so that other young conservatives are afraid to voice their opinion, that you too could end up in federal prison.”

DeLuca was also notably the only individual charged with participating in the capital riot to be employed by Congress following the event. According to POLITICO, she began interning in the office of former Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) in April 2021. The following fall, she held another congressional internship in the office of Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ). A spokesperson for Gosar told POLITICO that the office had no idea she participated in the capitol riot.

Over 1,300 people have been charged with crimes related to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, according to the Associated Press. Over 800 of them have been sentenced so far.

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About the Contributor
Sky Crabtree
Sky Crabtree, Assistant News Editor
Sky Crabtree is an Assistant News Editor for The Statesman and a sophomore studying journalism and political science. He joined the paper in the spring of 2023 as a news reporter and was promoted at the end of the same semester. Outside of The Statesman, he works as a news intern for WSHU Public Radio and hosts "The Political Corner," a segment on the Stony Brook Media Group's news show.
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