Trump supporter who sparked hours-long security alert on Capitol Hill charged with use of weapon of mass destruction

Police recovered ‘unknown powder’ from barrel inside suspect’s truck following threatening statements broadcast on Facebook livestream

Alex Woodward
New York
Friday 20 August 2021 21:16
Police negotiating with man seen with possible detonator near Capitol
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A man suspected of threatening to detonate explosives in the nation’s capital on 19 August before an hours-long standoff with US Capitol Police has been charged with threatening to use a weapon of mass destruction, which could carry a maximum penalty of life in prison if convicted.

Floyd Ray Roseberry, of North Carolina, was also charged with the use or attempted use of an explosive device.

The charges were revealed during a virtual court hearing on 20 August with Magistrate Judge Judge Zia Faruqui of the US District Court for Washington DC.

The US Department of Justice has sought a mental competency screening for Mr Roseberry, who told the judge that he has been without his blood pressure medication and “mind medicine” for several days and had difficulty understanding the proceedings and what day it is.

“My memory isn’t that well, sir,” he said.

Judge Faruqui has issued a medical alert to ensure Mr Roseberry receives his medication.

He has been appointed a federal public defender and will remain in jail.

Mr Roseberry will appear back in court on 25 August.

He told the judge that he “made it to the eighth grade” before dropping out from school to “go to work”, then received his General Educational Development degree followed by two years of technical training.

Mr Roseberry told the judge he is 51 years old, though police reports and the US Attorney’s Office list his age as 49.

On Thursday, Capitol Police arrested Mr Roseberry after he allegedly parked his truck near the Library of Congress and streamed an anti-government diatribe to thousands of viewers on Facebook, which has since removed the video and his profile from the platform.

In his livestream, which was also shared widely across other social media platforms, Mr Roseberry held a barrel in his lap while discussing a “revolution” and warning that other “patriots” had joined the cause.

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.

In an unsealed indictment, federal prosecutors point to threats reportedly made by Mr Roseberry on the livestream.

“The f****** revolution starts today, Joe Biden,” he said, according to prosecutors. “And before you go crackin’ any pop on me, you better get your military experts out, ask them mother******* what a 7 pound keg of gun powder will do with 2.5 pound of tannerite on that mother*******.”

He added: “If you want to shoot me and take the chance of blowing up two-and-a-half city blocks, ‘cause that tool box is full, ammonium nitrate is full.”

Police recovered a rusted drum with one to two inches of “an unknown powder in the bottom” with a fabricated trigger attached to the top of the can, according to the indictment. The can has been sent to an FBI laboratory.

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.

Mr Roseberry’s Facebook account frequently referenced Donald Trump, including posts from the “Million MAGA March” on 14 November, which undermined the results of the 2020 presidential election and backed the former president’s baseless claims of election fraud.

During his livestream, he falsely claimed that Mr Biden 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.”