Arkansas man charged with trying to blow up car at Pentagon


ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — An Arkansas man was arrested on charges he tried to blow up a car outside the Pentagon, federal officials said Tuesday.

Matthew Dmitri Richardson, of Fayetteville, is due in federal court in Virginia on Tuesday afternoon following his arrest a day earlier.

A Pentagon police officer saw the 19-year-old Richardson standing next to a car and striking a cigarette lighter to a piece of fabric attached to the vehicle’s gas tank, according to a federal criminal complaint. Richardson told the officer that he was going to “blow this vehicle up,” as well as “himself,” the complaint said.

It was not immediately clear if Richardson had a lawyer who could speak on his behalf.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (KNWA) — A Fayetteville man was arrested on Monday for allegedly attempting to blow up a vehicle at the Pentagon, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Virginia.

Matthew Dmitri Richardson, 19, was discovered in the Pentagon North Parking lot on Monday by a Pentagon police officer on patrol, according to the release.

Richardson was allegedly standing next to a vehicle striking a cigarette lighter to a piece of fabric that was inserted into the vehicle’s gas tank when the officer approached. He allegedly told the officer he was going to “blow this vehicle up,” along with himself.

The 19-year-old then ran across the parking lot and onto Virginia State Route 27, where surveillance footage allegedly showed him jump over a fence and into Arlington National Cemetery, according to the release.

He was later found by the Pentagon Force Protection Agency Police Emergency Response Team near Arlington House.

A subsequent search of Richardson uncovered a cigarette lighter, gloves, and court documents related to his arrest “on or about” February 22 for two counts of felony assault on a law enforcement officer in Arlington County.

The owner of the vehicle is an active-duty servicemember and does not know Richardson, according to court records.

Richardson is charged with maliciously attempting to damage and destroy by means of fire, a vehicle used in and affecting interstate and foreign commerce. If convicted, he faces a mandatory minimum of five years in prison and a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, according to the Department of Justice’s release on Tuesday.

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.

Richardson is scheduled to make his initial appearance in court at 2 p.m. on Tuesday.

It was not immediately clear if Richardson had a lawyer who could speak on his behalf.

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