ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WDVM) — A 19-year-old Arkansas man is accused of attempting to blow up a vehicle at the Pentagon on Monday, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a news release.
An officer said they observed the suspect, Matthew Dmitri Richardson of Fayetteville, allegedly “striking a cigarette lighter to a piece of fabric that was inserted into the vehicle’s gas tank,” in the Pentagon North Parking lot, according to court documents.
When Richardson was approached, the officer said that Richardson allegedly told them he was going to “blow this vehicle up,” according to the news release. He then allegedly ran from the officer across the parking lot. Surveillance footage shows Richardson jumped over a fence into Arlington National Cemetery. Authorities said the Pentagon Force Protection Agency Police Emergency Response Team found him near Arlington House.
Court documents state that when searching the suspect, officers found a cigarette lighter, gloves, and court documents related to Richardson’s arrest on or about February 22 for two counts of felony assault on a law enforcement officer in Arlington County.
Richardson is charged with maliciously attempting to damage and destroy by means of fire, a vehicle used in and affecting interstate and foreign commerce, according to the news release from the DOJ U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of Virginia. The vehicle owner claims to not know Richardson.
G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Woodrow G. Kusse, Chief of Pentagon Police, made the announcement. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Embroski and Assistant U.S. Attorney Marc J. Birnbaum are prosecuting the case.