Seminole County

Sanford firefighter accused of participating in Capitol riot placed on unpaid leave

SANFORD, Fla. — A Sanford firefighter who was under an administrative investigation for a possible role in the riots at the Capitol was arrested by federal authorities Tuesday.

Andrew Williams, who has been a firefighter/paramedic with the Sanford Fire Department since 2016, is accused of being a part of the mob that stormed the Capitol.

READ: Four Florida men among those arrested for unlawful entry during riot in the Capitol

On Wednesday, a spokesperson for the department said a photo shared from inside the Capitol appeared to show Williams inside the building.

“At this time, we are following the investigative process,” the department said. “The administrative investigation will look into all aspects of the nature of the photograph and will address any city policy and/or law violations that could possibly arise throughout the investigation.”

READ: FBI asking for help identifying rioters

Officials said Williams has been placed on unpaid leave pending the results of the investigation.

At a court appearance Tuesday afternoon Williams was charged with one count of unlawful entry and one count of disorderly conduct.

The charges he is facing right now are both misdemeanors, which carry up to a year in jail.

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Williams was also granted a $25,000 bond.

Don Mihalek, a retired Secret Service agent, believes the federal government wants to send a message to those involved. He said the disorderly conduct and unlawful entry into a restricted building charges could be just the beginning.

“As the case develops, and as the investigation develops, if more evidence develops, they’ll do a superseding indictment and add on additional charges,” Mihalek said.

Sanford Fire Chief Craig Radzak released a statement Tuesday saying, in part, “We hold the men and women in this department to the highest standards. It saddens me that the actions of one individual have tarnished the hard work and dedication that the rest of the department puts forth on a daily basis.”

Radzak goes on to ask for patience from the public as the department goes through its own investigation and internal administrative processes.

Stay tuned to Channel 9 Eyewitness News for updates.

Matt Reeser

Matt Reeser,

Matt Reeser joined WFTV in 1998 as a news photographer and has worked for television stations in Kentucky and West Virginia.