The aunt said she saw Berry on Jan. 6 and knows he was not at the Capitol that day, when a mob of supporters of President Trump forced their way into the building to try to stop the certification of his election defeat.
But she said her nephew often voiced pro-Trump sentiments and “always carries his gun.” Asked why, she said, “Just because he can.”
“He’s one of those open-carry people,” the aunt said, adding that she and her nephew disagreed over both politics and his decision to carry a firearm.
“I keep telling him Black men can’t walk around with guns on his hip, but he doesn’t believe me,” she said. She said she received a voice-mail message from him early Sunday saying he had been arrested but had not yet spoken with him.
Also this weekend, U.S. Capitol Police arrested a woman accused of impersonating a police officer, stopping her at a security checkpoint in place for Wednesday’s inauguration.
The areas around the Capitol and the White House, as well as much of downtown Washington, are under a strict and massive lockdown following the Jan. 6 breach, which resulted in the deaths of a Capitol Police officer and four others.
Law enforcement agencies have warned of the possibility of additional violent protests on Sunday and through Wednesday’s inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, both in Washington and at state capitols.
But with a huge police and National Guard presence stationed around key government buildings and Washington’s monumental core, no major protests or violence had materialized by 3 p.m.
A valid security credential is needed to enter the sprawling and unprecedented security zone, with many checkpoints in place.
Police said Berry was walking just after midnight Sunday on the 200 block of Massachusetts Avenue NE with a firearm “clearly visible” in a holster. He was stopped near a police checkpoint, and officers concluded he was not permitted to carry a handgun in the District. They then discovered he was also in possession of the magazines and ammunition and was placed under arrest, police said.
He was arrested on charges of carrying a pistol without a license and possession of a large-capacity ammunition feeding device and unregistered ammunition.
Berry is pictured on his Facebook page wearing a black cowboy hat, with his arms folded onto his chest, looking down at the camera. His cover photo is a wide shot of the U.S. Capitol during the riot, with two large “Trump 2020” signs on display and smoke rising.
A post on Election Day shows video of Berry, again in his cowboy hat, saying he “did my part” and voted, exulting that he “put a shovel of coal in the Trump train--choo, choo!” Above this video, he wrote, “I see smoke in the district… trump better win #TrumpTrain.”
Berry’s Facebook page bio reads, “A warriors mentality, with a poets soul.”
In 2017, Berry was arrested in Charlottesville and accused of shooting a firearm within 1,000 feet of a school, a felony. The case was later dropped. Berry’s aunt said that the case did not involve an altercation with anyone and that her nephew had shot into the ground. Nonetheless, she said, the arrest derailed his plans to enlist in the military.
Since then, Berry has worked off and on driving trucks, she said. She said he was supposed to start working Monday driving a truck for a gas company.
In a separate incident, the woman arrested Saturday was stopped by Capitol Police about 8:45 a.m. at a checkpoint at First Street and Columbus Circle NE.
She presented what was identified as a military challenge coin, a pocket-size medallion that is typically given out by military commanders, Capitol Police said.
The woman, whose name was not released, said she was a law enforcement officer. But as she was being questioned, she drove off. She was stopped shortly thereafter and placed under arrest, police said.
Capitol Police said she was charged with false impersonation of a law enforcement officer, failure to obey an officer and fleeing a law enforcement officer.
The woman was taken for evaluation at the D.C. Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program and later processed at Capitol Police headquarters and then transported to the D.C. Central Cell Block.
In a separate incident on Friday, a Virginia man who has been working as a private security guard in the area was arrested after law enforcement officers said they found at least one firearm and ammunition in his truck as he tried to enter an inauguration security checkpoint.
Wesley Allen Beeler, 31, of Front Royal drove his Ford F-150 up to a checkpoint on E Street, northeast of the Capitol, where he was met by Capitol Police officers, according to court documents.
In an interview, he said he forgot that his gun was in his truck when he left his home in Virginia, where he said he has a license to carry. A person with knowledge of Beeler’s actions, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the case is pending, said Beeler has no extremist ties, cooperated fully with law enforcement and was cleared from further investigation, except for the charge of violating District law by carrying a pistol without a license.
Peter Hermann contributed to this report.