Man who claimed to have a bomb in Washington, DC, charged in federal court and could face life in prison

·4 min read
police car parked in front of us capitol building
A Metropolitan Police Department cruiser blocks a street near the Capitol and a Library of Congress building in Washington, DC, on Thursday. AP Photo/Patrick Semansky
  • Floyd Roseberry, the man who claimed to have a bomb in Washington, DC, on Thursday, has been charged.

  • If convicted, Roseberry could face life in prison.

  • Roseberry surrendered to law enforcement officials on Thursday after an hours-long standoff.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Floyd Roseberry, the man who parked his truck in Capitol Hill on Thursday and claimed to have a bomb, was charged on Friday.

A federal judge said the 51-year-old North Carolinian faces two federal charges: threatening to use a weapon of mass destruction and threatening to use an explosive device. If convicted on the first charge, Roseberry could face life in prison, the judge said.

The Department of Justice has requested a mental competency screening for Roseberry, who expressed difficulty understanding what was happening at his first court hearing on Friday.

Roseberry will remain in jail. His next hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.

The charges come after Capitol Police investigated a report of an explosive device outside the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, on Thursday. Roseberry surrendered to law-enforcement officials at about 2:20 p.m. and was taken into custody after an hours-long standoff, the police said.

Officers evacuated the area around the building, near the US Capitol and the Supreme Court, shortly after 9 a.m. in response to what they said was a suspicious device in a pickup truck.

"This is an active bomb threat investigation," the Capitol Police tweeted at about 10:30 a.m. "Please continue to avoid the area around the Library of Congress."

The Metropolitan Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the FBI assisted. Mayor Muriel Bowser said she'd been briefed on the situation and advised people to avoid the area.

Law-enforcement officials had told The Associated Press they were determining whether the device in the truck was an "operable explosive" and whether the man was holding a detonator.

Officials told NBC News they had not identified anything resembling an explosive device in the truck. They told NBC the driver had said he had explosives and was writing on a dry-erase board to communicate with officials.

"Around 9:15 this morning, a man in a black pickup truck drove onto the sidewalk in front of the Library of Congress," Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger said in a news conference at about noon.

"We responded to a disturbance call," Manger said. "The driver of the truck told the responding officer on the scene that he had a bomb and what appeared, the officer said, appeared to be a detonator in the man's hand."

Manger added: "We're trying to get as much information as we can to find a way to peacefully resolve this. We are in communication with the suspect."

Manger said officials had not determined a motive.

The man had livestreamed himself on Facebook expressing anti-government views, officials and reporters said, but the video and his account appeared to have been taken down on Thursday. "I'm ready to die for the cause," he said in a clip that HuffPost's Ryan Reilly tweeted.

Capitol Police set up a perimeter around the Capitol, and congressional staffers were asked to shelter in their offices. The Cannon House Office Building and the Library of Congress' Jefferson and Madison buildings were evacuated, Capitol Hill reporters said.

Congress is not in session this week, meaning most lawmakers are not in the city, though people are still working in the buildings.

"Due to the nature of the incident, this will likely be a prolonged law enforcement response," the House's sergeant-at-arms, William Walker, told staffers.

The Republican National Committee building near the Capitol was evacuated as well, The Washington Post's Josh Dawsey reported. The Supreme Court was evacuated, CNN said.

Washington, DC, has been on high alert since rioters stormed the Capitol complex on January 6, resulting in numerous injuries and several deaths.

That day, two pipe bombs were found outside the offices of the Republican and Democratic national committees. No one got hurt, though the identity of the person who planted the devices remains unknown, and the FBI has called on the public to come forward with details.

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