A Maryland man inspired by ISIS plotted to carry out a terrorist attack using a rental truck and was stopped in the act.
Rondell Henry, 28, was arrested March 28 after he left his job and vehicle behind and stole a U-Haul truck in an attempt to carry out a copycat attack of the 2016 Nice, France terror attack, according to a Department of Justice statement on Monday.
“Today, the government filed a motion arguing for Henry to be detained pending trial as a flight risk and a danger to the community,” the statement said. “Specifically, the government’s detention memo alleges that Henry, who claimed to be inspired by the ISIS terrorist organization, stole a U-Haul van with the intention of using it as a weapon against pedestrians on sidewalks within the National Harbor complex along the Potomac River in Maryland.”
BREAKING: Federal authorities have charged 28yo Rondell Henry of Germantown, Md., alleging he stole a UHaul van and planned to use it to run over a large group of people at National Harbor.
“He harbored hatred for those who do not practice the Muslim faith,” authorities say. pic.twitter.com/n9qScYnpqX
— Kevin Lewis (@ABC7Kevin) April 8, 2019
Despite admitting his terror plot, prosecutors only charged Henry with interstate transportation of a stolen vehicle, burglary, and damages caused by the burglary. The stolen vehicle charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment.
“For two years, Henry has harbored ‘hatred’ for those who do not practice the Muslim faith. Allegedly inspired by videos he watched of foreign terrorists, Henry decided to conduct a vehicular attack, similar to the 2016 truck attack in Nice, France, for which ISIS claimed responsibility,” the DOJ statement said.
Henry stole the truck and originally aimed for Dulles International Airport in Virginia, “allegedly to harm ‘disbelievers’ in a way designed for maximum publicity.” However, after spending more than two hours attempting to pass airport security, he abandoned that plan.
Henry then drove to the National Harbor in Maryland where he parked the truck and hid overnight in a boat that he broke into, intending to return to the truck the next day.
Law enforcement had tracked down the stolen vehicle and were surveilling it to catch the suspect, however. Prince George’s County Police Officers arrested Henry upon his return to the truck the next morning.
After Henry was arrested, he admitted he stole the truck and intended to use it to run over pedestrians at the National Harbor.
“I was just going to keep driving and driving and driving. I wasn’t going to stop,” Henry told the FBI, according to court papers viewed by NBC News.
The court documents said Henry wanted to create “panic and chaos, the same as what happened in France” and was ready to die in order to carry out jihad.
“He was a computer engineer by trade, and knew nothing of explosives or firearms. But he knew how to drive, and he also knew of the terrorist truck attack in Nice, France. So the defendant decided to use what was readily at his disposal and conduct a vehicular attack on a crowd of innocents,” prosecutors said in the court documents, according to ABC News.
Henry will appear in court on Tuesday for a detention hearing.