By Mandy Miles & Alex Rickert

A live-aboard couple in Marathon’s Boot Key Harbor wanted for allegedly assaulting law enforcement officers and entering the U.S. Capitol during the infamous Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection were arrested on Monday, Aug. 7 in Marathon.

Bryan Roger Bishop, 51, and Tonya Bishop (née Tonya Allison-Oberst), 47, were taken into custody in a joint operation of the FBI, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and other law enforcement partners, according to criminal complaints filed with the U.S. District Court and a press release from MCSO. Both were listed with a last known address of 800 35th Street Ocean in Marathon, the address of the Marathon City Marina. They spent the night in the county jail in Key West, attended a hearing in the federal courthouse downtown the next afternoon and were released on bond around 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 8.

The warrants were signed by U.S. Magistrate Judge Moxila A. Upadhyaya in Washington, D.C., the same judge tasked with handling former President Donald Trump’s initial Aug. 3 court appearance pertaining to his federal indictment for alleged efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

“MCSO members assisted the FBI in taking a man and woman in Marathon into federal custody Monday evening,” a Monroe County Sheriff’s press release said. “The liveaboard couple came ashore in a dinghy and federal agents took them into custody without incident. Any questions about the case should be directed to the FBI.”

Both of the Bishops attended an initial hearing on the afternoon of Aug. 8 at the federal courthouse in Key West, where they sat next to each other, handcuffed and wearing khaki-colored Monroe County Jail jumpsuits. Their next court appearance is scheduled for Aug. 17 in Washington.

According to the complaint, FBI investigators cross-referenced photos of Bishop from his Florida, Minnesota and Idaho driver’s licenses and passport renewal application with public video, CCTV and police body camera footage recorded during the insurrection. Together, the complaint says, the imagery identified him as one of the individuals who assaulted members of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) on the Capitol’s West Terrace before entering and roaming the capitol building for roughly 17 minutes.

In addition, Bryan was allegedly identified as an individual labeled the #UnderHelmetSprayer in a wanted poster released by Sedition Hunters, a “global community of open-source intelligence investigators (OSINT) working together to assist the U.S. FBI and Washington D.C. Capitol Police in finding people who allegedly committed crimes in the January 6 capitol riots.”

His criminal complaint details several camera angles appearing to show him spraying two MPD officers in the face with a chemical irritant, hitting one directly before “aim(ing) at an upward angle in order to spray under (a second officer’s) face shield and directly into his face.”

A video released by Sedition Hunters allegedly shows Bryan Bishop spraying a chemical irritant in the face of several Metropolitan Police Department officers during the January 6 Capitol riots. SEDITION HUNTERS/Contributed

Though Tonya’s complaint does not describe direct assaults on officers, it details records and location data provided by Google and TracFone used to place a device associated with her email address and TracFone account within the Capitol building at the “known timeframe of the riot.” Similarly to Bryan, several video sources show a person with facial features that “closely resemble” Tonya’s outside the Capitol building on the date in question.

As stated in the complaint, Google’s location data “varies in its accuracy,” depending on a variety of GPS data, Wi-Fi access points and Bluetooth beacons, but its stated location for a device “reflects the actual location of the covered device approximately 68% of the time.”

Additionally, monitored phone calls between an inmate believed to be Tonya’s son and the phone number associated with her TracFone account revealed a female voice stating, “On the 6th, Trump has called The Patriots together, a bunch of us are headed over there.”

The pair’s arrest documents briefly appeared in federal court databases, but were subsequently marked as sealed by Tuesday morning. At their hearing in Key West, judge Lurana Snow ordered the case files unsealed again.

After questioning the defendants, Snow also determined that the Bishops qualified for court-appointed defense attorneys. Tonya Bishop said she has “about $700 in the bank,” and “works occasionally repairing sails and doing canvas work.”

Bryan Bishop said he receives $4,000 to $5,000 per month from his “military retirement and disability.”

The defendants were released on $100,000 signature bonds each, meaning they don’t have to put up any money or collateral unless they miss a court appearance. The judge agreed with the U.S. prosecutors, who attended the hearing via video conference, and asked that the Bishops surrender their passports by noon on Thursday, Aug. 10, submit to 24-hour location monitoring and refrain from possessing any firearms or dangerous weapons. They also are not allowed to sell or mortgage any property or vessels that they own. The couple owns a car and two boats, one of which they live on, they told the judge. 

“You haven’t been convicted, so I’m not telling you to go out and sell your guns, but they have to be transferred to someone else,” Judge Snow said.

When released from the Monroe County Detention Center in Key West Tuesday afternoon, Tonya Bishop told the Keys Weekly outside the jail, “I hope you’re using the word ‘allegedly,’ because we’re innocent until proven guilty. Due process has not been served. We’re just regular people who want to live our lives quietly.”

While putting his belt back on outside the jail, and donning a US Navy “Combat Action Ribbon” ball cap, Bryan Bishop described their arrest by federal agents on Monday night as “dramatic.”

Neither suspect would comment when asked why they were at the US Capitol on Jan. 6. Bryan Bishop lit a cigarette and the couple walked away hand in hand.

Gwen Filosa contributed to this report. The Keys Weekly will update this developing story as it progresses.