Man who claimed to have bomb near Capitol surrenders to authorities
A North Carolina man who claimed to have a bomb in his black pickup truck surrendered to authorities after a five-hour standoff that forced police to evacuate buildings near the U.S. Capitol, sparking anxiety in a city still on edge months after a deadly insurrection by a pro-Donald Trump mob.
Floyd Roy Roseberry stepped out of his pickup shortly before 2:30 p.m. and was taken into custody without incident, U.S. Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger told reporters. Manger said Roseberry’s motives were unknown, though the 49-year-old livestreamed portions of the standoff from his truck, railing against the U.S. government, Democrats and President Biden while threatening to blow himself up.
Manger said Roseberry would be booked on unspecified criminal charges. His initial hearing was expected Friday afternoon.
Roseberry’s only demand during his livestream on his Facebook page was to speak to Biden, warning his bomb would explode if he was shot. “You can shoot me and kill me right here and blow up two city blocks,” he said, calling himself a “patriot.” “I’m here for a reason, Joe Biden. I’m here for the American people.... I’m ready to die for a cause.”
Showing off what he purported was a bomb — a metal canister on his lap — Roseberry claimed he had wired the device to detonate if it detected the sound of breaking glass. He added he was one of five bombers roaming the city.
Police officials said a bomb was not found in the vehicle, but possible bomb-making materials were collected from the truck. They said they did not believe there were other bombers on the loose.
Facebook removed the livestream, and a spokesman said the company also took down what appeared to be Roseberry’s profile. Facebook spokesman Andy Stone tweeted that the company is “continuing to investigate.”
The standoff with Roseberry, who is white, comes a week after the Department of Homeland Security issued a bulletin warning to law enforcement that “racially- or ethnically-motivated violent extremists (RMVEs) and anti-government/anti-authority violent extremists will remain a national threat priority for the United States” through the rest of the year. The bulletin specifically warned that extremists were seeking information on “using improvised explosive devices and small arms.”
Federal law enforcement officials have ramped up investigations of domestic extremists in the wake of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by a horde of Trump supporters seeking to block Congress’ certification of the electoral vote. Authorities say the melee contributed to the deaths of five people and injuries to more than 150 police officers. More than 570 people have been arrested in the insurrection, many incriminated by social media posts in which they boasted of their actions in the Capitol.
Tuesday’s incident started about 9:15 a.m. when police came across Roseberry after he parked his pickup on the sidewalk in front of the Library of Congress. Roseberry told police he had a bomb, and an officer noticed what appeared to be a detonator in his hand, Manger said.
Officials quickly evacuated the Library of Congress’ Jefferson and Madison buildings, across the street from the Capitol, and sent sharpshooters to nearby rooftops. Workers in the Cannon House Office Building, which was near the standoff, were relocated to the Longworth House Office Building. The Republican National Committee, not far from where the truck was parked, was also evacuated.
Manger said a police robot delivered a phone to Roseberry, but he declined to use it. Instead, Manger said, police negotiators communicated with Roseberry using a dry-erase board. Manger declined to say how police persuaded him to end the standoff.
Many lawmakers and staffers were out of town Tuesday because of the scheduled August recess, and the Capitol was something of a ghost town.
Capitol Hill staff members are used to reports of suspicious packages or vehicles, but extended investigations are rare and evacuations are unusual. On Tuesday, a suspicious package near the Library of Congress prompted a Capitol Police investigation, but the road closures lifted in just under an hour.
In April, a Capitol Police officer was killed when he was struck by a car whose driver rammed through a security barricade protecting the Capitol complex, resulting in a two-hour lockdown of the building. The driver was fatally shot by officers after he got out of the car and lunged at them with a knife. Authorities said the driver, identified as Noah Green, 25, intentionally struck two officers, one of whom was injured. Authorities have not identified a motive in that attack, though they said it did not appear to be an act of domestic terrorism.
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