Former Assistant Fontana Police Chief Indicted In January 6 Capitol Insurrection

Former Assistant Fontana Police Chief Alan Hostetter has been charged in a federal indictment with participating in the January 6, 2021 Washington, D.C. insurrection, in so doing disrupting a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol at which the tallying of the electoral college votes for the November 3, 2020 election was ongoing.
According to an indictment unsealed yesterday, June 10, Hostetter was among five so-called “three percenters” who sojourned from Southern California to the nation’s capital earlier this year to interfere with the orderly transfer of presidential power, and prevent Joseph Biden, whom Hostetter considers a “communist traitor” from succeeding Donald Trump as the nation’s chief executive.
Alan Hostetter, 56, reached the position of Fontana’s assistant chief of police before serving for a short time as La Habra police chief over a decade ago and thereafter retired to San Clemente to become a leading figure in the Southern California Make America Great Again, QAnon, Proud Boys, American Phoenix Project and anti-masking/coronavirus restrictions movements. He is charged in the indictment with obstructing an official proceeding, entering a restricted building, disorderly conduct within a restricted building, disorderly conduct within a restricted building in order to disrupt or impede the government and preventing attendance at an official proceeding, according to Channing D. Phillips, the acting United States attorney in the District of Columbia.
The indictment also names Russell Taylor, Erik Scott Warner, Felipe Antonio “Tony” Martinez, Derek Kinnison and Ronald Mele, all of whom coordinated with Hostetter in Southern California in advance of their arrival in Washington, D.C., where they rendezvoused and engaged variously in speechmaking and/or other efforts to incite the masses assembled there to action.
Hostetter, of San Clemente; Taylor, 40, of Ladera Ranch; Martinez, 47, of Lake Elsinore; and Mele, 51, of Temecula are charged with federal offenses that include conspiracy, obstructing an official proceeding, and unlawful entry on restricted building or grounds. Taylor is also charged with obstructing law enforcement during a civil disorder and unlawful possession of a dangerous weapon on Capitol grounds. Warner, 45, of Menifee, and Kinnison, 39, of Lake Elsinore, are charged with tampering with documents or proceedings and conspiracy, obstructing an official proceeding, and unlawful entry on restricted building or grounds.
After graduating from high school in 1982, Hostetter joined the Army, training as an infantryman. He was stationed at Fort Hood in Texas with the 1st Cavalry Division and did a tour of duty with the 3rd Infantry Division in Aschaffenburg, West Germany. In 1986, after leaving the Army, he was hired by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. In 1989, he transferred to the Fontana Police Department. He was promoted to police corporal in 1993, sergeant in 1996, lieutenant in 2001, subsequently served in 2006 and early 2007 as the chief of the Fontana School District Police Department, returned to the Fontana Police Department as a captain in April 2007 and became assistant chief in December 2007.
While with the Fontana Police Department, Hostetter worked in the patrol division, on the special weapons and tactics team, in the narcotics unit, detective bureau, traffic unit, internal affairs unit, and administration division. His advancement in the department was paralleled by academic achievement. He obtained a bachelor of science degree in education from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and a master of public administration degree from California State University, San Bernardino.
As he was working his way up from the rank of patrol officer in Fontana, he married Wendy Hostetter, a police dispatcher who eventually became the police department’s dispatch and communications division supervisor. They had a son, Corey, who was hired as a rookie police officer with the Fontana Police Department in 2016, then worked as a police officer in Upland in 2017 and 2018. Corey Hostetter is no longer working in law enforcement in California.
Alan Hostetter was a graduate of the 212th session of the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy at Quantico, Virginia; Class 38 of the California Police Officers Standards and Training Command College; and Class 105 of the Sherman Block Supervisory and Leadership Institute.
In 2009, there was trouble in the Hostetter marriage. Though he was on the fast track to become police chief, and it was widely anticipated that he would succeed then-Police Chief Rod Jones upon his eventual retirement, Hostetter, perhaps because of his domestic situation, in the fall of 2009 applied for the soon-to-open police chief’s position in the Orange County city of La Habra, a city of 60,000, which at that time was less than a third of the size of then-190,000 population Fontana. In December 2009, Hostetter was selected to serve as chief from among the 20 candidates selected from the applicants for the La Habra job.
Hostetter began as La Habra police chief in January 2010, but remained in place only until May of that year, going out on leave and then taking a disability retirement officially effective as of August 26, 2010. He was 46 years old. He moved to San Clemente.
The following year, he began pulling his pension, which was then pegged at $132,907.32, through the California Public Employees Retirement System. In the years since, his pension, with three percent annual cost of living increases, has grown to $160,495.09.
In 2011, Hostetter began as an instructor/facilitator with the University of Phoenix, teaching undergraduate courses in ethics in criminal justice and graduate courses in budgeting. He remained as an instructor until 2013.
In October of 2011, he founded a company, Public Sector Solutions, which provided investigative services to support private business with workplace investigations. He maintained that company until September of 2017.
Hostetter, who as a police officer had been an advocate of physical fitness for the officers he commanded, after his disability retirement began exploring alternate ways of remaining in good condition. He took up yoga and found it an excellent way to maintain flexibility, suppleness and muscle tone. He rapidly went from being a novice to a dedicated practitioner to a teacher.
In January 2017, he created Alpha Yoga of Orange County, which catered mostly to senior citizens and the wives of wealthy businessmen in San Clemente, Dana Point and San Juan Capistrano. The type of yoga he advocated was particularly focused on the healing and relaxing potential of hypnotic sound, and he would endeavor to create an atmosphere that used American Indian flutes, Tibetan bowls and Aboriginal didgeridoos to create a “sound bath” to serve as the atmosphere in which those who engaged in the exercises he led, stretches and poses known as asanas and vynyasas accompanied by breathing exercises known as pranayama, could get all of the benefits of the yoga experience. Alpha Yoga of Orange County offered relaxation guidance, sound healing, Reiki energy healing, wellness and sleep workshops.
To those who knew him in his previous life as a police officer, an existence in which force and aggression were routine, Hostetter’s transformation was profound, as he talked about eliminating everything other than “good vibes” and seeking out spiritual fulfillment, getting in touch with his own soul and how yoga could make such cosmic realizations for others possible.
Hostetter had made a remarkable physical transformation as well, having gone from the clean cut military/police officer model he had typified in his 20s, 30s and early 40s to a bearded and long-haired guru hippy type.
Then, in a very short period of time, shortly after the advent of the COVID-19 crisis, Hostetter made an abrupt retransformation. Having zigged as an infantryman, police officer and police chief, he zagged as a yogi, and returned to zigging as a self-styled conservative political activist. In April 2020, he abruptly closed down Alpha Yoga of Orange County, instead diverting practically all of his time and energy into the American Phoenix Project, a nonprofit organization, of which he was the founder and director. The American Phoenix Project, he solemnly said, was “dedicated to moving America forward as we come out of this national ‘shelter-in-place’ nightmare. Its broad objectives are to:
1) Fight back against the corruption and abuse taking place at all levels of government, local to national.
2) Reform the main stream media entirely. They must be held accountable.
3) Reform social media platforms so that censorship without a legitimate reason is forbidden.
4) Educate the public regarding vaccinations and vaccination programs. Support medical freedom and medical choice, while resisting any attempt to implement a mandatory vaccination program.
5) Resist any attempt to strip Americans of their civil rights and constitutional protections in the future through quarantines of healthy Americans.”
Virtually overnight Hostetter had become the central figure in the resistance to the State of California’s program to limited the spread of the coronavirus.
Touting the movement he was creating, Hostetter said, “The first action of American Phoenix Project was to file a lawsuit against Gavin Newsom to take down all ‘shelter-in-place’ orders currently in place.”
That lawsuit failed, but Hostetter’s efforts drew to him a sizable contingent of residents either opposed to the government lockdowns from the start or who began to chaff under those restrictions as they continued week after week and month after month.
It was as if he had transformed from being the prophet of yoga, with dozens or scores of followers, to the messiah of resistance to the Deep State, with hundreds of faithful hanging on his every word.
Together with Russell Taylor, he sponsored protests against mandates that citizens wear masks out in public and he led rallies in Orange County against coronavirus restrictions in general last summer, protesting beach closures, defying the civil authorities and daring the local police sent to break up the crowds to arrest him and his fellow protesters.
Of note, Robert Ramsey, with whom Hostetter had served the entirety of his career at the Fontana Police Department and who eventually acceded to the police chief position there in 2016 when Police Chief Rod Jones retired, after a little more than two years in the chief’s position in 2018 had himself retired to San Clemente. Ramsey was often seen at the rallies Hostetter was hosting and leading, and he too went on record against the government’s action in seeking to enslave its citizens by increments through the lockdown justifications.
Those who knew Hostetter primarily as a yoga instructor whose focus on achieving inner peace and oneness with the universe said it was if he had become unhinged virtually overnight, having been sent off the deep end by the government precautions against the spread of COVID-19. Former yoga students relate tales of him growing intemperate and profane, cursing when discussing stay-at-home orders or business-closure mandates. One told of Hostetter viciously upbraiding him for wearing a mask when they had a chance encounter on the street.
Others have consistently depicted Hostetter as reacting virulently, during any discussion he was involved in relating to the lockdown and governmental mandates at that time, to any suggestion that the COVID-19 pandemic represented a legitimate health crisis that was best managed with precautions to limit the spread of the virus and protect those elements of the population most vulnerable to it. The government’s effort to reduce the strain on the healthcare facilities and institutions – hospitals and both acute care and recovery/long term care homes – where those most critically impacted by the disease were to be treated, was an out-and-out ruse to compromise constitutional rights and liberty, he said. Hostetter would dismiss with anger and derision any expression of trust in California’s government or faith that Governor Gavin Newsom was seeking to protect the state’s citizens, insisting his interlocutor had been brainwashed or was a tool of the Democrats and the socialists who had commandeered the State of California and were ruling the roost in Sacramento.
Hostetter said the State of California’s response to the coronavirus outbreaks exposed the Democrats as power mad tyrants hell bent on lording it over California’s citizens. The Democrats in Washington, D.C. were attempting to use the virus as means of recapturing national political primacy, as well, he said.
“There are so many corrupt institutions at the local level, state level and the national level to go after once this lockdown is over,” he said.
The American Phoenix Project was engaging in “a fight back against this tyranny,” he said.
The spread of the coronavirus was nowhere near what it was being represented as, he insisted. The government had skewed the statistics on the disease by “monetizing COVID deaths,” that is, paying hospitals money for every reported COVID-related death of their patients, which he said had induced those hospitals to falsify the cause of death data those institutions kept to falsely show that virtually all who died at those institutions in 2020 had contracted COVID-19.
A comparison of death statistics going back five years demonstrated, he said, “There’s no pandemic. There’s never been a local health emergency.”
He likened the call for self quarantining to being “placed under house arrest. We’re going to be wearing masks for the rest of our lives according to [Dr. Anthony] Fauci [the chief medical advisor to the president]. We are going to be digitally tracked for the rest of our lives. First masks, then vaccines, then vaccine passports. Next thing you know, you’re on the cattle cars.”
He accused Democratic officeholders and the Republicans who failed to oppose them of being “hack politicians. These politicians are bought off by big pharma and God only knows the corruption that is involved in keeping them dogging us and dogging us and dogging us like they have been for a year.”
With the 2020 election approaching, Hostetter became ever more convinced that Donald Trump represented the last hope for humanity, and that his reelection as president was imperative for the United States to survive as a nation.
On September 19, 2020 during a public address in Orange County, he referenced the trade war with China. “The United States was about to win that war and then that war went suddenly literally viral, manufactured in a Wuhan bio-weapons lab,” he said. “The China virus was unleashed on the world, with the Chinese Communist Party flying their infected citizens all across America and all across the world. And whether by design or simple opportunism, the domestic enemies that have been infiltrating and proliferating within the United States for generations now saw their opportunity six months ago to crash the hottest economy on Planet Earth and try to take out the best president ever. These domestic enemies have used this virus to divide us, to strike fear in us, to subjugate and oppress us, with the ultimate goal being to remove President Donald J. Trump, one of the most amazing and effective leaders this country has ever seen.”
Those around him said he was elated in the immediate aftermath of the election, when on election night it appeared that Donald Trump had narrowly gained reelection, seeming to have won in the crucial swing states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. But with results from the more populous major urban areas of those states coming in the following day, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin slipped from the Republicans grasp and on November 4, 2020, President Trump tweeted from @realDonaldTrump, “Last night I was leading, often solidly, in many key States, in almost all instances Democrat run & controlled. Then, one by one, they started to magically disappear as surprise ballot dumps were counted. VERY STRANGE, and the “pollsters” got it completely & historically wrong!
From that point on, President Trump and his supporters propounded that the election was being stolen.
On November 12, 2020, during his drive from California to Washington, D.C. where he intended to take part in the million man Make America Great Again March that was to take place on November 14 and make a show of continuing support for the president, Hostetter videoed himself as he was driving through Arkansas, noting that he was on schedule to arrive in Virginia that evening.
“It was so brazen what they did to us, the theft of this election,” he said. “They did this to us in board daylight. They stole this election while everybody was watching, and they were flipping us the middle finger as they did it. The Deep State has been assuming power in this country and slowly taking everything over in this country. There’s been no honest vote probably in decades, if not longer. They think they’re firmly in control and they’re about to be proven otherwise.”
When the million man MAGA March did not result in reversing the presidential election outcome, President Trump’s supporters and their efforts to prevent what they said was the theft of the election coalesced around the hope that Vice President Mike Pence would use his authority as president of the Senate to prevent the hijacking of the election from occurring. President Trump’s advocates believed that when the House of Representatives and the Senate met in a joint session to certify the election, Pence could overturn the election results in favor of Joseph Biden in key swing states by mandating that votes cast there which were in dispute not be counted, thereby making a determination that the Trump-Pence ticket had prevailed in the presidential/vice presidential election.
Hostetter became the self-appointed leader of Southern California’s “Stop the Steal” movement.
Back in Southern California in December at rallies in Orange County, he called upon as many “patriots” as possible to heed the president’s call and go to Washington ahead of the joint session of Congress to certify the election results on January 6 to protest that certification, which would be if it went to Joseph Biden, he insisted, invalid.
At that time, Hostetter spoke almost exclusively in circumstances where he was surrounded by like-minded Trump supporters. On two known occasions, when someone present asked Hostetter what evidence he could marshal to show the election had in fact been stolen, violence nearly erupted.
During one of those rallies, Hostetter propounded that the “elected whores,” meaning the members of Congress, should “fix this mess and keep America America.” Allowing the crooked Democrats who had stolen the election to put their kingpin Joseph Biden in the White House was tantamount to treason, he said, which “patriots” would not stand for. Those members of Congress directly participating in the theft – meaning the Democrats – and the ones passively allowing it to happen – meaning the Republicans who were RINOs or Republicans In Name Only – would suffer the fate of being “tie[d] to a fucking lamppost,” he said.
The indictment alleges that through the late fall and early winter of 2020, the defendants – Hostetter, Taylor, Warner, Martinez, Kinnison and Mele – communicated with each other to plan and coordinate their effort to obstruct and interfere with the joint session of Congress called to certify the electoral college vote at the Capitol on January 6. The defendants communicated through various messaging applications and social media, according to the government, including the encrypted messaging application Telegram, to share information regarding the election; coordinate travel to Washington, D.C.; and promote events sponsored by the American Phoenix Project.
On December 28, 2020, Warner initiated a group text message thread in which he, Mele, Kinnison and Martinez discussed logistics and expenses for a cross-country road trip. On December 29, Hostetter and Taylor texted each other regarding travel and whether they would bring firearms.
On January 1, Taylor created a Telegram chat called “The California Patriots-DC Brigade,” which the defendants, along with more than 30 others, joined and used to identify themselves, communicate and coordinate with each other. In the “about” section, Taylor wrote: “This group will serve as the Comms for able bodied individuals that are going to DC on Jan 6. Many of us have not met before and we are all ready and willing to fight. We will come together for this moment that we are called upon.
All of the defendants joined the Telegram group and used it to plan and coordinate their actions together and with others. Taylor explained the purpose of the group and stated, “This thread is exclusive to be utilized to organize a group of fighters to have each other’s backs and ensure that no one will trample on our rights. Also, if there is key intel that we need to be aware of [or] possible threats.” He added: “I am assuming that you have some type of weaponry that you are bringing with you and plates as well.” Taylor also asked members to identify if they had previous law enforcement experience, military experience or “special skills relevant to our endeavors.”
Also in the chat, Kinnison explained that he, Mele and Warner “are part of so cal 3%[.] we work well and train with each other” and that the group was “[l]eaving tomorrow and driving instead of flying because our luggage would be too heavy. We will have lots of gear from medical kits, radios, multiple cans of bear spray, knives, flags, plates, goggles, helmets…I think we should clear all text in this chat in the morning of the 5th just in case for opsec [operational security] purposes.
Prior to leaving California for Washington, D.C., Kinnison, Mele, Martinez and Warner continued to exchange messages on a group text threat to coordinate and plan their trip, including whether they wanted to bring firearms with them on their cross-country drive. Mele told the group “shorter the better. Mine will be able to be stashed under the seat. I’ll bring it. 18” barrel.
On January 5, at a rally near the U.S. Supreme Court, Alan Hostetter told a frenzied crowd, “Our voices tomorrow are going to put the fear of God in the cowards and the traitors, the RINOs and the communists of the Democrat Party. They need to know, we of the people, 100 million strong, are coming for them if they do the wrong thing.”
At the same rally, Russell Taylor said, “In these streets we will fight and we will bleed before we allow our freedom to be taken from us.”
They would never give in to communists, the Deep State or Antifa, Taylor vowed.
At 11:28 p.m. on January 5, Taylor posted a photo to a chat on another encrypted messaging service showing gear arranged on a bed, including a khaki backpack, a black plate-carrier vest, two hatchets, a walkie talkie-type radio, a stun baton, a helmet, a scarf and a knife. In the caption, he wrote, “Now getting ready for tomorrow.
On January 6, the defendants congregated on the National Mall for the rally, where Mele, Martinez, Kinnison and Warner posed for a photo. Martinez, Kinnison and Warner flashed a hand signal showing affiliation with the Three Percenter group. Taylor, Hostetter and others walked down Pennsylvania Avenue toward the Capitol, and Taylor took a selfie-style video as he walked, in which he stated, “We are on the move. Heading up to the Capitol.” At 2:13 p.m., Warner entered the Capitol through a broken window. At approximately 2:30 p.m., Taylor and Hostetter joined rioters on the lower west terrace who were pushing through the line of law enforcement officers. Taylor was carrying a knife in the front chest pocket of his plate carrier vest and urged on rioters before pushing through the police line and moving up the stairs and onto the upper west terrace.
The case against Hostetter, Taylor, Warner, Martinez, Kinnison and Mele was investigated by the FBI’s Washington field office, as well as the Metropolitan Police Department and U.S. Capitol Police, with significant assistance provided by the FBI’s Los Angeles field office.
Though the indictment alleges Hostetter, Taylor, Warner, Martinez, Kinnison and Mele planned and coordinated their effort to obstruct and interfere with the joint session of Congress and utilized apps and social media to plot their activity and used group texts to talk about travel and whether to bring firearms, Hostetter is not not accused of entering the capitol or carrying a weapon.
The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Department of Justice National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section. Further assistance was provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.
In the 156 days since January 6, roughly 465 individuals have been arrested on charges related to the January 6 Capitol breach, including over 130 charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement. The investigation remains ongoing.
Hostetter told the Sentinel, “What happened January 6 was a total false flag staged event,” meaning that Deep State operatives had infiltrated the ranks of President Trump’s supporters and had engaged in illegal actions for which President Trump’s supporters and those resisting and protesting the theft of the election were now being blamed. As a result of the false flag activity, Hostetter said, he and his fellow defendants were “under the microscope from the Deep State.”
“I never ever engaged in any act of violence,” he said. “I never destroyed one piece of property. I never even entered the Capitol building. I think I maybe got a little too close in their eyes, and sang the national anthem a little too loud, maybe a little off key. We patriot warriors will prevail.”
Hostetter’s attorney, Bill Essayli, in a video statement said that Hostetter may have “used strong language, but that doesn’t make him a criminal.” Essayli said that Hostetter, Taylor, Warner, Martinez, Kinnison and Mele “didn’t commit any acts of violence. They had an opportunity to go into the Capitol. They didn’t do that. They just wanted to voice their opinion that they objected to the certification of the election, as did many members of Congress also place their objections.”
Essayli said a “distinction should be drawn from those who forcibly entered the Capitol or committed damage from the peaceful protesters that were outside of the Capitol protesting.”

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