A 19-year-old man has been arrested and charged for attempting to blow up a vehicle in the Pentagon parking lot Monday morning, federal prosecutors announced.
The suspect, 19-year-old Matthew Dmitri Richardson of Arkansas, was allegedly observed striking a cigarette lighter against a piece of fabric placed into the SUV’s fuel tank. After Richardson was approached by a patroling Pentagon Police Officer, the suspect threatened to “blow this vehicle up” and “himself”. Richardson then allegedly fled on foot from the parking lot toward Virginia State Route 110 and onto Virginia State Route 27.
“According to court documents, after a search of Richardson, officers allegedly discovered 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,” the Justice Department said in a statement. “According to court documents, the owner of the vehicle is an active duty servicemember and does not know Richardson.”
Richardson was later arrested at Arlington National Cemetery at around 12:15 p.m and has been charged with “maliciously attempting to damage and destroy by means of fire, a vehicle used in and affecting interstate and foreign commerce.”
He faces between five and 20 years in prison.
Richardson was arrested over the weekend for allegedly assaulting on a law enforcement officer, noted prosecutors. He was also arrested for alleged theft in November in his home state.