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Alpine Man Charged for Alleged Role in Capitol Attack

Alpine resident Sean David Watson has claimed for months that he was part of the mob that invaded the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection. Now he's been arrested for his alleged involvement in the riot.

By Travis Bubenik

Authorities on Wednesday arrested an Alpine man for his alleged role in the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, months after he publicly boasted about federal agents raiding his home.

An FBI spokesperson said Sean David Watson turned himself into the Alpine Police Department Wednesday afternoon following a warrant for his arrest being issued.

Watson is facing criminal charges that he “knowingly and willfully” joined in the mob attack and violently entered the Capitol building according to court documents.

On Friday, Watson had his first court appearance and was expected to be released soon on bond, said Shane O’Neal, a local criminal defense attorney appointed to represent Watson in the initial proceeding.*

Even before his connections to the Jan. 6 insurrection surfaced, Watson’s home in Alpine had become a kind of local curiosity in its own right. At one point it featured large, hand painted slogans praising former President Donald Trump and conspiracy-laden messages focused on the November election and the coronavirus pandemic.

At one point, the message "TAKE YOUR MASKS OFF" was scrawled on the front of the home.

The Big Bend Sentinel confirmed in February that Watson was employed at Big Bend Regional Medical Center, the only hospital in the Big Bend region. A spokesperson for the hospital told Marfa Public Radio on Friday that Watson no longer works there.

According to an affidavit unsealed on Thursday, the FBI first began investigating Watson after receiving a tip from an unnamed coworker on January 13, just days after the mob attack. Watson allegedly showed his fellow employees cell phone videos of himself inside the Capitol. Another unnamed witness allegedly told investigators that Watson claimed to coworkers that he “fucked shit up” during the riot.

Watson allegedly admitted to investigators on Jan. 19 that he traveled to Washington, D.C. for “political rallies” but denied being at the Capitol during the attack. But then, according to the affidavit, Watson later admitted to participating in the attack after the FBI seized his phone, obtaining texts that he allegedly sent just after the insurrection.

“I was one of the people that helped storm the capitol building and smash out the windows,” Watson allegedly wrote in a text on January 7, one day after the attack. “We made history today. Proudest day of my life!”

Watson’s own public comments about his role in the insurrection have echoed the statements that investigators are now using as evidence against him in court.

About a month after the insurrection, Watson admitted that he entered the Capitol building in an interview with CBS7, during which he revealed that the FBI had raided his home.

“No, I don’t regret any of it,” he said. “I’m actually proud of what I’m doing.”

Watson is set to appear via video conference before a federal magistrate judge in Washington, D.C. on May 5.

Watson is the latest in a long list of Texans facing charges stemming from the Capitol attack. More than three dozen Texas residents have been arrested and charged in the attack, according to Houston Public Media.

Editor's Note: Shane O’Neal, who represented Watson in his initial court appearance, sits on Marfa Public Radio’s Board of Directors.

Travis Bubenik is All Things Considered Host and Big Bend Reporter at Marfa Public Radio.