Politics|North Carolina Man Is Charged in Capitol Bombing Threat
The man, Floyd Ray Roseberry, faces a charge of threatening to use a weapon of mass destruction after he drove to the Capitol and claimed on Facebook that he had a bomb.
Aug. 20, 2021, 5:53 p.m. ET
WASHINGTON — A man who claimed he had a bomb in his pickup truck outside the U.S. Capitol a day earlier was charged on Friday with threatening to use a weapon of mass of destruction, the Justice Department said.
The man, Floyd Ray Roseberry, of Grover, N.C., was also charged with making a threat using explosives after broadcasting live on Facebook on Thursday that he had a powerful bomb and detonator. His threats prompted widespread evacuations at the Capitol complex, the Supreme Court and other buildings nearby.
Mr. Roseberry said he told his wife he was going fishing but instead drove to Washington that morning, parking his black Chevrolet truck with no license plates in front of the Library of Congress and directly across from the Capitol.
The police negotiated with Mr. Roseberry for hours before he surrendered peacefully, ending a tense standoff in the same neighborhood where hundreds of supporters of former President Donald J. Trump stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6.
The authorities recovered a rusted can with an unknown powder in it from Mr. Roseberry’s truck, an F.B.I. agent who investigates domestic terrorism wrote in an affidavit. The agent said that a fabricated trigger was also attached to the can, which was sent to an F.B.I. laboratory for further examination.
No bomb was found in the truck, but “possible bomb-making materials were collected” from it, the Capitol Police said on Thursday.
The day before Mr. Roseberry arrived at the Capitol, local law enforcement officials said they had received a report from a relative of his expressing concern about anti-government views and an intent to commit violence. It is not clear whether law enforcement officers in North Carolina tried to question Mr. Roseberry after receiving the report.
In his Facebook livestream video, which the company later removed, Mr. Roseberry ranted about President Biden. He said that the “revolution starts today” and claimed he had gunpowder and Tannerite, an explosive compound.
Mr. Roseberry also communicated with the police during the standoff, using a whiteboard to write: “Please don’t shoot the windows the vibe will explode the bomb.”
He demanded to speak with Mr. Biden and claimed the election had been stolen. At one point, Mr. Roseberry, who said he was a “patriot,” threw money out the window of his truck.
At his first appearance in federal court on Friday, Mr. Roseberry said he had quit school in the eighth grade before returning to earn his high-school equivalency degree. He told Judge Zia M. Faruqui that he was on several medications, adding, “My memory isn’t that well, sir.”
Judge Faruqui said that he would order a competency evaluation as the case proceeded. Mr. Roseberry’s relatives told reporters that he had a history of mental instability and a bad temper. Mr. Roseberry said he was 51, but law enforcement officials have said he is 49.
The threat of mass destruction charge carries a potential sentence of life in prison, reflecting the seriousness of the count.
The Capitol has been on edge since Jan. 6. Many of the people working in the complex, including lawmakers, their aides, staff workers and journalists, continue to grapple with lingering trauma from the riot and the death of a Capitol Police officer in early April, when an attacker rammed his car into the officer and a colleague.
The F.B.I. has arrested more than 500 people involved in the Jan. 6 riot, many of whom were seemingly radicalized after consuming misinformation about the election that was spread on social media and by Mr. Trump.
After Jan. 6, Mr. Biden ordered a review of domestic extremism and in June released a strategy to fight it. The plan highlighted a shift in the U.S. approach to counterterrorism, which for decades had focused on fighting foreign terrorists.