A Maryland man who prosecutors say was inspired by ISIS extremist group plotted to ram a stolen U-Haul truck into as many pedestrians as possible at a popular convention and tourist destination just outside the nation’s capital, federal prosecutors said Monday.
The allegation was made in a court filing Monday as prosecutors in Maryland urged a judge to keep the defendant, 28-year-old Rondell Henry, detained on a charge of driving a stolen vehicle across state lines.
The police arrested him on March 28 after officers saw him leap over a security fence near where he had parked the truck.
“I was just going to keep driving and driving and driving. I wasn’t going to stop,” the document quotes Henry as telling the authorities who questioned him.
The six-page motion describes Henry as harboring hatred for “disbelievers” over the last two years and looking to emulate ISIS militants he saw on beheading videos and fighting overseas.
Henry, a computer engineer by trade, walked off his job in the middle of the day last month and stole a U-Haul van from a storage location in Virginia after determining that his four-door sedan “would not cause the catastrophic damage that he desired.”
After considering different locations, including Dulles International Airport, Henry settled on National Harbor - a complex of restaurants, retail and hotels, prosecutors say.
The court filing says Henry had no escape plan and instead intended to die while driving into pedestrians at National Harbor, telling authorities that he wanted to create “panic and chaos” similar to a 2016 truck attack in Nice, France that killed dozens.
It wasn’t immediately clear if Henry had a lawyer. It also wasn’t clear if and when prosecutors might add additional charges that accuse Henry of giving material support to a foreign terror organization.