Retired Chicago firefighter falsely identified as rioter attacking US Capitol police

Retired Chicago firefighter falsely identified as Capitol Hill rioter attacking police
A person, alleged to be Robert Sanford, is seen on video throwing a fire extinguisher into a group of police officers during the riots at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Photo credit U.S. Department of Justice

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — A retired Chicago firefighter is seeking to clear his name after being falsely accused of killing a police officer during the Capitol Hill riot in Washington, D.C. last week, even though he wasn’t there.

David Quintavalle has been falsely identified on social media as a man seen in video footage hurling a red fire extinguisher at a group of U.S. Capitol police officers as they tried to fend off an angry pro-President Donald Trump mob during the Jan. 6 riot.

The mistaken identity has resulted in Quintavalle receiving several threatening messages over the past week, including one that called him a “murderer” and “traitor.”

“And I can't believe you killed a cop and your son’s a cop. Wow. Good luck in prison [expletive],” the message said.

Quintavalle told CBS 2 that someone thought a man wearing a CFD hat who was seen throwing that fire extinguisher at Capitol police officers was him based on a photo taken at a different time in Chicago.

“I was identified as the man that killed the officer in Washington,” Quintavalle said, adding he’s concerned about his safety.

CFD turned out to be an acronym for the Chester Fire Department in Pennsylvania.

The retired Chester firefighter has been identified as 55-year-old Robert Sanford, who, according to federal charging documents, currently is in federal custody for allegations surrounding his involvement in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, KYW Newsradio reported. 

While both men are retired firefighters, the wrong one has been getting harassed.

“I was called a murder. I was called a terrorist,” Quintavalle said.

The fire extinguisher Sanford allegedly threw hit three officers in the head, resulting in his facing federal charges of assaulting police, entering a restricted area without permission, civil disorder, and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, KYW Newsradio reported.

Sanford’s alleged incident isn’t connected to Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who, officials have said, died from injuries sustained when he was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher.

The incidents, however, continue to be conflated and Quintavalle falsely accused of murder. This is why police have been watching his home.

“This is an unfortunate and sad example of what a case of mistaken identity and social media can do to destroy a man's life,” Quintavalle’s attorney John Nisivaco said.