An Arkansas man was in federal court Tuesday on charges relating to his alleged attempt to blow up a vehicle at the Pentagon on Monday.
According to court documents, Matthew Dmitri Richardson, 19, of Fayetteville, was discovered in the Pentagon north parking lot Monday morning by a Pentagon police officer on patrol. The officer allegedly observed Richardson standing next to a vehicle striking a cigarette lighter to a piece of fabric that was inserted into the vehicle’s gas tank.
After the officer approached Richardson, the defendant allegedly told the officer he was going to “blow this vehicle up” and “himself.” When the officer attempted to detain Richardson, Richardson pulled away and ran across the parking lot towards Virginia State Route 110 and onto Virginia State Route 27. A subsequent review of surveillance camera footage showed that Richardson jumped over a fence into Arlington National Cemetery. Richardson was later found by the Pentagon Force Protection Agency Police Emergency Response Team near Arlington House.
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 around Feb. 22 for two counts of felony assault on a law enforcement officer in Arlington County.
According to court documents, the owner of the vehicle is an active duty service member and does not know Richardson.
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. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
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.