Man accused of trying to blow up vehicle at Pentagon

Man accused of trying to blow up vehicle at Pentagon
© Greg Nash

An Arkansas man is in police custody Tuesday after allegedly attempting to blow up a vehicle at the Pentagon.

According to the Justice Department, 19-year-old Fayetteville native Matthew Dmitri Richardson was approached by a patrolling Pentagon police officer after the officer watched Richardson light a piece of fabric on fire and then put it inside a vehicle's gas tank.

When questioned, Richardson reportedly said that he was going “blow this vehicle up [and] himself." The officer attempted to detain Richardson, but he fled on foot toward Virginia State Route 110 and on to Route 27, eventually jumping a fence into Arlington National Cemetery. He was later apprehended by the Pentagon Force Protection Agency Police Emergency Response Team in the vicinity of Arlington House.

ADVERTISEMENT

Court documents that were found on Richardson reveal that he was arrested just days before on two counts of "felony assault on a law enforcement officer in Arlington County."

The vehicle that Richardson is accused of trying to blow up belongs to an active-duty service member who has no relation to Richardson, separate court documents show.

Richardson was set to appear in federal court at 2 p.m. Tuesday. He is being charged with "maliciously attempting to damage and destroy by means of fire, a vehicle used in and affecting interstate and foreign commerce." A conviction of the crime carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years in prison with a maximum sentence of 20 years.

Updated at 3:24 p.m.