By CHERI ROBERTS for Challenging the Rhetoric
Today, Oregon Standoff‘s Jon Ritzheimer filmed himself verbally harassing Glendale, Arizona resident, Dante Zanone, at a Peoria, Arizona Home Depot where Zanone, employed by Solar City, was working a kiosk. Ritzheimer later posted that Zanone had given him “dirty looks” while he was shopping at the home improvement chain, prompting him to return and confront him (see video below).
Zanone, a firearms instructor, is the current president of the Arizona Three Percent (AZ III%) militia group. Ritzheimer, a former Oath Keeper, has been affiliated with many “Three Percent” and militia groups across the country.
At the heart of Ritzheimer’s angst is the group’s previous president, Mark McConnell. McConnell is the truck driving bounty hunter whom both a State Trooper, and a Federal Agent, testified was a government informant in the case against Ritzheimer and 25 other individuals who were charged and arrested in relation to the 41-day armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge (MNWR) last January near Burns, Oregon.
Before the first of the 2 trials began, while out on pretrial release, Ritzheimer took back his former “not guilty” plea and pleaded “guilty” to the federal conspiracy charge as part of a deal with U.S. Attorneys. However, after McConnell was later outed in federal court and a jury found the Bundys and 5 others, “not guilty” of the conspiracy they had been charged with, Ritzheimer has unsuccessfully attempted to revoke his “guilty” plea. He has also been on a mission to expose McConnell and 14 other confirmed FBI confidential human sources (CHS) who supplied information to law enforcement before, during and after the Malheur occupation and the shooting death of rancher Robert “LaVoy” Finicum.
Ritzheimer and wife Rachael previously countered McConnell’s claim that he first went to Burns, Oregon to rescue a young woman and her baby. The Ritzheimer’s say that McConnell was already in Burns when they told McConnell about a woman who needed help. This, in part, is what they have said led them to believe McConnell was an informant “all along”.
The Ritzheimer’s hatred of McConnell is palpable and their public postings of contempt are often quickly removed, but not before interested and or concerned onlookers have taken screenshots and shared via social media.
On January 5, McConnell faced Ritzheimer in court where a Phoenix, Arizona Municipal judge unceremoniously dismissed an “Injunction Against Harassment” filed last October by Ritzheimer against him, further raising Ritzheimer’s, thus far, impotent ire.
Zanone is a vocal supporter of the 6′ 4″ McConnell, which seemingly rubs the diminutive Ritzheimer the wrong way. Contrary to Ritzheimer’s claim that he had no idea Zanone worked at the home improvement store, Zanone says that Ritzheimer knew full-well that he worked at that location and had seen him there several times without incident. The only interaction they’d ever had, per Zanone, was when he offered Ritzheimer his support and prayers last spring after Ritzheimer’s release.
Whether Ritzheimer went to Home Depot just to shop or not matters little. By his own account, he went back inside the store, with his cellphone camera running, specifically to confront Zanone at his place of employ.
In Ritzheimer’s video, you can hear him tell Zanone that he is going to “hunt every single one of you down”, among other things. This could potentially be deemed a violation of his plea agreement and release. As was reported by Maxine Bernstein, Judge Jones had cautioned Ritzheimer at his release hearing saying, “We’re going to have a really tight leash on you. I mean really tight. I will have zero tolerance on any violation …”
On what went down today, Zanone said, “Jon Ritzheimer confronted me at my place of employment with the sole purpose of harassing and intimidating me. I gave him the opportunity to have a discussion man to man, which he obviously was incapable of. He then posted that information online so others could do so as well.”
Zanone also said he will no longer be employed at that location saying that Ritzheimer “is actively trying to harm” he and his family by going after his employer, adding, “these are not the actions of an honorable man.”