The US Justice Department said on Monday it has detained a Maryland man who allegedly plotted to drive a stolen U-Haul truck into pedestrians on the sidewalks of a busy shopping and entertainment complex along the Potomac River, in a foiled plan that was inspired by the Islamic State (ISIS).
The US Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland said it charged 28-year-old Rondell Henry of Germantown, M.D. with interstate commerce transportation of a stolen vehicle. It added that the government has since petitioned a federal court to detain him pending trial after learning more about his motives.
“I was just going to keep driving and driving and driving. I wasn’t going to stop," the government quotes Henry as saying in its motion to the court seeking detention pending trial.
A detention hearing is scheduled for Tuesday in the US District Court in Greenbelt, Maryland, before US Magistrate Judge Thomas M. DiGirolamo.
In its criminal complaint, the government said on March 26, the Alexandria Police Department in Virginia received a report about a leased U-Haul that was stolen from a nearby mall.
The driver who rented the truck initially reported seeing a man in a blue BMW follow the U-Haul off Interstate 395 and park in a space near the U-Haul at the mall.
When police arrived at the mall, they found the BMW still parked there and discovered it was registered to Henry.
A day later, the stolen U-Haul was found in National Harbor, a bustling development along the Potomac in Maryland across from Alexandria, Virginia, that features bars and restaurants, shops, a Ferris wheel, a luxury hotel and residential apartments.
Video surveillance showed Henry parking and getting out of the truck. He was arrested the next day.
Prosecutors say Henry has harbored hatred toward non-practicing Muslims and has watched multiple foreign terrorist videos.
Specifically, they said he was inspired by a terrorist attack in Nice, France in 2016 in which a man drove a truck at high speed into crowds, killing 86 people.