WASHINGTON – According to court documents, Julian Elie Khater, 32, of State College, Pennsylvania, and George Pierre Tanios, 39, of Morgantown, West Virginia, were arrested on Sunday in connection with a complaint filed in federal court in Washington, D.C., charging them with conspiring to injure officers and assaulting federal officers, among other charges, on Jan. 6. Khater was arrested as he disembarked from an airplane at Newark Airport in New Jersey. Tanios was arrested at his residence in West Virginia.
Khater and Tanios are each charged with one count of conspiracy to injure an officer; three counts of assault on a federal officer with a dangerous weapon; one count of civil disorder; one count of obstructing or impeding an official proceeding; one count of physical violence on restricted grounds, while carrying dangerous weapon and resulting in significant bodily injury; and one count of violent entry and disorderly conduct, act of physical violence on Capitol grounds.
According to the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint, Khater and Tanios were at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and were observed in video footage working together to assault law enforcement officers with an unknown chemical substance by spraying officers directly in the face and eyes. During the investigation, it is alleged that law enforcement discovered video that depicted Khater asking Tanios to “give me that bear s*it.” Tanios replied, “Hold on, hold on, not yet, not yet… it’s still early.” Khater then retrieved a canister from Tanios’ backpack and walked through the crowd to within a few steps of the police perimeter. The video shows Khater with his right arm up high in the air, appearing to be holding a canister in his right hand and aiming it at the officers’ direction while moving his right arm from side to side. The complaint affidavit states that Officers Sicknick, Edwards, and Chapman, who were all standing within a few feet of Khater, each reacted to being sprayed in the face. The officers retreated, bringing their hands to their faces and rushing to find water to wash out their eyes.
The FBI’s Washington Field Office, with assistance from the FBI Pittsburgh and Newark Field Offices, the United States Capitol Police, and the Metropolitan Police Department are investigating the case.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, with valuable assistance from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of West Virginia and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey are prosecuting the case.
Who is George Pierre Tanios?
George Pierre Tanios is the 39-year-old owner of the restaurant chain ‘Sandwich University’ in Morgantown. He was initially a New Jersey native and owned franchises like All You Need, SandwichU, and 4th & Goal, as stated in a 2012 blog by WVUDowntown.
Tanios had a family background in managing restaurants with his parents being restaurant owners in New Jersey.
His prime success stemmed from SandwichU — ranked among the top four College Eateries in America by ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’ — and also featured on BuzzFeed. The key appeal of the ‘over-the-top’ sandwiches at the restaurant was their wide variety of fried foods added with seasonings and sauces inside the sandwich buns.
However, it appears that even as a successful business-owner, pre-dating his involvement in the Capitol Riots on January 6, 2021, Tanios showed signs of “racism” and bullying while addressing customer feedback on Google reviews. In addition, in 2019, he reportedly did not pay a group of college students who worked there. When the youngsters demanded their payout publicly, Tanios deactivated the SandwichU Twitter account and started blocking people.
“Just your daily reminder to never support, endorse, or buy from this terrible business, Sandwich U, and its owner, George Tanios,” tweeted one user in May 2019. An attached screenshot shows how he rudely responded to the workers.
From calling customers ‘White Trash’, ‘Karen’, ‘snowflake’ and wishing ‘diarrhea upon your mother’, Tanios was infamous for his tirades on Google reviews as well as for brandishing his support for Trump at his eatery.
Read some reviews here:
Despite his seemingly terrible business professionalism, Tanios was identified thanks to his love for his brand. Did you know he was wearing a SandwichU sweatshirt that day? The T-shirt worn by Tanios, along with a red MAGA cap on the day of the riots, helped investigators identify him.
Catch a snapshot from the Capitol riots here:
Who is Julian Elie Khater?
Tanios’s co-accused, Julian Elie Khater, is a 32-year-old resident of State College, Pennsylvania. According to reports, he has worked as a General Manager and co-owner of Frutta Bowls till May 2020.
Dishing out more details about his life, CBS reporter Peyton Kennedy tweeted: “Julian Khater, one of the men arrested, is the former owner of Frutta Bowls in Downtown State College. Tune in to @WTAJnews tonight for details on his charges.”
A LinkedIn profile — believed to be Khater’s — shows him to be hailing from Somerset, New Jersey, and seeking new opportunities as a General Manager. A graduate in Business Administration and Management from Fairleigh Dickinson University in NJ, Khater worked in managerial and consultant positions for companies like Peter’s Liquors, Panico’s Italian Restaurant, PNC, and Topgolf before launching the healthy snack venture Frutta Bowls.
Dubbed a prominent Trump supporter — as evident from his Facebook profile — Khater had also put up profile pictures with slogans like ‘Pray for Lebanon’ and details about the tragic Beirut explosion of August 2020.
A 2006 report by Newsweek lists one Ellie Khater — who Twitter users are considering to be the mother of Julian Khater — to be tearfully leaving her adopted home in Kherbert Kanafar in Lebanon.
The article mentions her to be a New Jersey native and mother of four, who was forced out of her beloved village home in Lebanon following the clashes between Israel and Hizbullah at the time.
During the Capitol Riots on January 6, 2021, Julian Khater reportedly sprayed officers Sicknick, Edwards and Chapman with the bear mace on the face, which incapacitated them for over twenty minutes while they experienced severe chemical injuries. The following day, officer Sicknick passed away, and it is now believed by many that the spray by Khater might be the cause of his death.
If convicted in their charges, the duo can face up to 20 years in prison.