MILTON, Ga. — New details are emerging about a Milton man accused of participating in the insurrection on the U.S. Capitol and run-ins with neighbors in the days and months leading up to the FBI arresting him.
Federal authorities announced Saturday they had charged 18-year-old Bruno Cua and taken him into federal custody at his family’s home on Wood Road.
According to documents released by prosecutors late Monday, evidence showed Cua was among those who stormed the Capitol building and was photographed and videotaped inside the Senate chambers.
The criminal complaint said the FBI received two tips about Cua on January 8th.
“In the screenshot of an Instagram story from CUA’s Instagram account, CUA stated he ‘stormed’ the Capitol and, along with unidentified others, ‘physically fought our way in,’ the complaint said.
The complaint said Cua was seen on video surveillance shoving a Capitol Police Officer when a large group forced their way into the building.
Using video from a “New Yorker” magazine reporter, agents identified Cua among those inside the Senate chambers.
“The video shows CUA in the Senate Gallery at a video timestamp of approximately 4:21. At a timestamp of approximately 4:27, CUA is seen in front of a marble wall wearing the dark sweatshirt red hat and holding the same jean jacket from screenshots provided by C1. CUA is also holding a cellular phone and appears to be actively filming. At a timestamp of approximately 4:32, CUA is seen facing the camera, wearing the dark sweatshirt, holding the same jean jacket in his left hand, a cellular phone in his right hand, while wearing grey gloves.”
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The complaint referenced comments Cua was making about the election.
“‘They can steal an election, but we can’t sit in their chairs?’” In an in-person interview with FBI Agents on January 20, 2021, C1 identified CUA speaking in the video at the same timestamp.”
Posts on the social media page, Parler, shared by a source with Channel 2′s Mike Petchenik, show Cua had been discussing a siege on the Capitol in the days leading up to the January 6th event.
Petchenik traveled to the neighborhood Monday to find people who know Cua, and he encountered one neighbor who said the teen had created “chaos” on the block.
“There’s been a lot of problems with this one gentleman creating, sort of havoc, on the road,” said one man who asked Petchenik not to identify him. “It’s been a lot of noise, a lot of problems.”
Neighbors told Petchenik that Cua often drove a large pickup truck up and down the street, blaring an air horn and waving a “Trump” flag.
Body cam footage Petchenik obtained through the Milton Police Department shows a December 8th incident outside of Birmingham Falls Elementary School after two women called to report him.
“They were racing around the parking lot,” the woman told an officer. “They had some kind of air horn and they were blaring that.”
Cua claimed another officer had already given him permission to drive his truck in the lot because it was big enough to handle it.
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“We got a new flag and we were doing a test run around here,” his father Joseph can be heard telling the officer. “The boys came to film and watch. They weren’t in danger.”
The officer ultimately cited Cua for violating the city’s noise ordinance because she said he’d been warned in October about the same issue.
Cua’s neighbor said he saw the FBI swarming the family’s property Friday and, after hearing news of the arrest, he said he felt a sense of relief.
“I do feel sorry for the young man,” he said. “I didn’t want this to happen to him, but it doesn’t completely shock me.”
The complaint says Cua is facing four federal charges for entering the Capitol and obstructing official proceedings.
Outside the family’s home Monday, Petchenik found a lawn sign that said, “We Love You Bruno.”
A family friend told Petchenik neighbors had organized the sign and had also sent letters of character reference to court on Cua’s behalf. She sent Petchenik a copy of her letter, but asked that her name not be published.
“To Whom it May Concern:
After reading the article about the arrest of Bruno Cua yesterday that was extremely one-sided, I thought that it was appropriate to provide the Bruno Cua that I have known for over 10 years.
Bruno is a polite young man who always responds in the traditional Southern way using “Yes Ma’am” and “No Ma’am”.
His parents have raised him to respect the value of a dollar and hard work. This work ethic is evident when he has done many different jobs for me around our farm and has completed these tasks professionally and in the time frame promised. His excellent carpentry/building skills were put into watching my son struggle to build a tree house on our property (7 acres). He taught my son about solid foundations are key to safety. He spent hours helping my son create a safe tree house and taught my son that safety in building is top priority. To ignore the importance on a solid foundation is a very critical step in building and could create a dangerous structure for my son where he could get hurt.
Like many American Families that live in the Country (AG1 Zoning/Agriculture). We live on farms, most of the residents here moved because we wanted a lifestyle that took our children off the computer/and to invest and care for our property, to teach the value of hard work and to understand the importance and welfare of the animals (chickens, Horses, Cows, goats and pigs). It was very important that my children learn that instant gratification is creating a generation of kids that do not understand the value of a dollar, time, patience and hard work Bruno taught my son a lot about caring for the land and using the resources on our land to lessen our carbon footprint.
Like many American families living in the country, Bruno was introduced to hunting as a child by his father. They take annual hunting trips and Bruno is very familiar with the safety and dangers of guns. He would be someone I would look to to teach others the safety and the dangers of the power of a gun. I’ve seen him with a gun and he handles them with the upmost safety and respect. When my 11 year old son got a BB gun for Christmas, 3 years ago. We had Bruno come over and and reiterate to him the need for safety with any firearm as my son respected his knowledge and listened to his peer rather than ignoring the warnings from his parents. Bruno also suggested my son take a safety class with a reliable outfit, such as Sharpshooterss to take a class to properly use the BB Gun safely. My son never advanced to any other firearms as he felt he wanted to wait until he was older and more responsible. This was Bruno’s influence of the dangers. My son was not ready for that kind of responsibility.
I have always looked at Bruno and felt he represents the exuberance and of youth. I remember he found an injured baby squirrel and tried to nurse it back to health. He used a dropper to nourish the baby squirrel. After 2 months the squirrel died of an infection and I’ll never forget how upset Bruno was. He was inconsolable, he loved that squirrel and did his very best to save him. Bruno has a beautiful Christian Family. His family values are: Love, respect, honor and he would never ever hurt another human being EVER. I trust him implicitly, I would have no problems care of them in case of an emergency. I trust Bruno, If I had a family emergency and I needed someone to take care of my kids. I would call him right now.
I know the “real Bruno” not the “Bruno” that is being portrayed as a “reckless, right wing ideology gun crazy kid. That is not Bruno.
I will stand up in Court if necessary under Oath and back my word the Bruno got caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. He is scared, frightened and being treated like a criminal that he is not.
I feel that the safest place for Bruno is home with his family—he’s just an innocent young man and this could do irreparable damage to his fragile, naive, innocence. I feel his life is in serious danger if he his kept locked up like a criminal. He is NOT and I would Swear under Oath to that.”
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