After claiming live on Facebook Wednesday evening that anti-fascist activists had been identified "for a fact" at the Capitol, a Franklin pastor released a statement Saturday saying his comments were based on false information.
Steve Berger, pastor of Grace Chapel in Franklin, appeared live on his Facebook page Wednesday evening from Washington, D.C., after attending the rally for President Donald Trump, which resulted in dozens from the crowd storming the Capitol.
Berger shared, like some other attendees from Williamson County, that the majority of the thousands of people at the rally were peacefully protesting outside the Capitol before some "bad apples" from the crowd breached the Capitol Police line and broke into the building.
Among those "bad apples," he said, were identified anti-fascist, or antifa, activists, referring generally to "videos going around" the internet and pictures of some in the Capitol at other events.
"I'm not here to say that the troublemakers were all and only antifa members, but I can tell you this: they were there, they were present and they were identified," he said.
Berger received both praise and criticism from the community for his statements, garnering particular attention because Grace Chapel is where Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee regularly attends.
Berger released a statement Saturday in which he shared he incorrectly referred to Ashli Babbitt, who was shot and killed during the riot, as a 16-year-old based on false information that he read. Babbitt was 35.
"There was additional incorrect reporting that a facial recognition system had identified Antifa activists in the Capitol. That report has since been shown to be false," Berger's statement reads. "Also, there was reporting about Antifa being bussed into the [Capitol], a report that has now been retracted."
As rally attendees who entered the Capitol Wednesday have been identified and arrested by law enforcement over the last few days, several mainstream news organizations have addressed rumors, videos and photos circulating social media to correct several unproven claims about antifa involvement during the Capitol raid.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation told Reuters there is "no indication at this time" of antifa involvement in the group that stormed the Capitol.
"When you find out that sources you deemed legitimate were mistaken, you need to right the wrong," Berger's statement further reads.
Read Berger's full statement below.