Antifa Member Charged in Shooting of Anti-Vaccine Mandate Protester

Antifa shooting in Olympia, Washington at medical freedom protest (Credit: @JLeeQuinn)

An Antifa member has now been charged in the shooting of an anti-vaccine mandate protester earlier this month in Olympia, Washington.

Benjamin Anthony Varela was arrested on Thursday and charged with first degree assault while armed with a deadly weapon, according to the New York Post.


What’s unclear is why the local news reported that someone was arrested but then didn’t release the name until today.

So here’s an example of how they reported the shooting on Thursday.

The local media finally reported the name today after it ran in the New York Post first.

As we reported, the incident occurred on September 4, with a clash between Antifa folks trying to disrupt an anti-vaccine mandate protest. The Proud Boys were providing voluntary security for the event. The Antifa folks had been involved in a confrontation with the Proud Boys and were running to the Intercity Transit Station when one of their group turned around and fired a gun at the Proud Boys behind them. Tusitala Toese was injured in the shooting.


The shooter ran into an alley and took off his black bloc attire, according to the criminal complaint against Varela. He changed into a “bright yellowish/greenish t-shirt,” then “discarded his black t-shirt and beanie/watch cap in the alley.”

From The New York Post:

The criminal complaint says the police interviewed Varela’s live-in girlfriend, Jessica Lynn O’Connor, 34, who admitted they attended the direct action together on Sept. 4 while in black attire. The detective obtained a search warrant for their property and found a handgun under the bedroom.

“Jessica told me the handgun was not hers and it belonged to Benjamin. She told me all guns and gun-related items belonged to Benjamin,” the affidavit says.

Varela is being held on $100,000 bail.

The Post alleges that he has a long history of radical leftist posts. He allegedly wiped most of his social media posts after his arrest, but they claim his Twitter bio used to read, “professional anarchist, thug, and paid protester.”

At the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, Varela wrote: “Start hurting people, the coronavirus is going to provide great cover for a real revolution.” He called for people to take up arms. The same month, he posted a rant wishing that both conservatives and liberals die of the coronavirus. In 2018, he wrote, “9/11 was good because the US is a Nazi state so we deserved it.”


Now, that’s pretty hefty bail and appropriate for such a charge. Can we also dare to hope that there might actually be a real prosecution going on here? The difference may be this isn’t in Portland, which would come under the jurisdiction of the far left district attorney there. It’s in Olympia, Washington. So there may actually be some real punishment that happens here, if he is convicted or cops a plea. We shall see and let you know. But good news that they actually did follow up, arrest and charge him.



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