Following a nearly five-hour standoff, US Capitol Police have arrested a man suspected of initiating a bomb threat in Washington DC, sparking a major security alert seven months after an insurrection at the nearby US Capitol.
Floyd Ray Roseberry allegedly parked his truck near the Library of Congress and shared his extremist views in a rambling, anti-government diatribe which he beamed to thousands of viewers on Facebook, and which has since been removed from the site. In the live-stream, Mr Roseberry said he aimed to start a revolution and spoke ominously of other “patriots” who had joined the cause.
“The revolution is on, it’s here, it’s today,” he said. “America needs a voice. I’ll give it to them.”
US Capitol Police reported that a bomb was not recovered from the truck but “but possible bomb making materials were collected” after Mr Roseberry’s arrest.
He reportedly told a Capitol Police officer at the scene that he had a bomb, and “the officer noticed what appeared to be a detonator in the man’s hand,” according to a statement from Capitol Police.
On his livestream, Mr Roseberry indicated his truck contained explosives and issued a warning to President Joe Biden against shooting him to prevent sound-sensitive detonators from igniting them.
“I’m here for a reason, Joe Biden,” he said. “I’m here for the American people. And if you want to take me out, take me out. But when the patriots come, your ass is in trouble … So if you blow my truck up man, it’s on you, Joe. I’m ready to die for the cause.”
When police arrived. Mr Roseberry “was communicating by holding up hand-written signs through the front, driver-side window,” Capitol Police said.
Officers then gave him a phone “in hopes of trying to continue the dialogue,” according to a police statement.
Nearby Capitol office buildings were evacuated; Both the House of Representatives and the Senate are on recess, and most lawmakers are in their home states, but staffers and Library of Congress employees were working near the scene, prompting the evacuations. Police also went door to door to alert residents in the area.
Following the hours-long standoff, he followed officers’ instructions and crawled away from the truck.
By 6pm, law enforcement had cleared the scene and reopened nearby streets to traffic.
The US Department of Justice and FBI are assisting the case.
On his livestream, which was removed from Facebook but shared widely across other social media platforms, Mr Roseberry spoke of his family back in North Carolina, his hatred for for the president – named dozens of times in his video – and claimed to be upset at the decision to pull US troops out of Afghanistan.
“The first thing I want is air strikes in Afghanistan. Kick that Taliban’s ass and keep them from killing people,” he said.
He admitted he had “lied” to his wife about where he was going when he drove the 354 miles from Grover, population 700, to the US Capitol.
“I won’t lie to her again,” he said.
He also indicated he had been deprived access to medication.“They cut off my healthcare,” he said. “I can’t even get shots anymore.” His wife told NBC News that her husband had left North Carolina on Wednesday night and told her he was going on a fishing trip.
“She says her husband has been upset of the result of the Presidential election and voted for the first time in his life for President Trump,” NBC News reported.
She said he had recently changed medication and had been going through some mental health problems.
WCNC reported that a search of public records showed Mr Roseberry did not have serious criminal record; he reportedly was charged with larceny $200 and driving without a licence in the 1980s and was given probation.
A Facebook account belonging to Mr Roseberry, which has also been removed, listed his interests as “animal keeping” and “fishing”. A photograph on the account showed two assault rifles.
On his livestream, he claimed to have thrown $3,000 from his truck window, after pulling up on the sidewalk next to the Library of Congress at about 9.15am on 19 August.
An eyewitness, University of Madison-Wisconsin student Sydney Bobb, said she could see $1 bills scattered on the ground as she walked to her class near the Library of Congress building at 9.25am.
The 22-year-old could hear him shouting that he had a bomb as he sat in the pickup truck with the engine idling.
Mr Roseberry appeared to have been harbouring frustrations at the US government for some time.
At one point he falsely claimed that the president had not been legitimately elected, echoing the persistent lie that the 2020 presidential elections was “rigged” against Mr Trump and his supporters.
He also claimed “this ain’t about politics”.
“I don’t care if Donald Trump ever become president again. Don’t matter to me,” he said. “I think all you Democrats need to step down. You gotta understand the people don’t want you there.”