An Illinois man who traveled from Chicago was arrested Thursday for an alleged attempt to firebomb the Chinese embassy in Washington.
Shortly after 7 a.m. on Thursday, a Secret Service officer was standing outside the embassy on International Place NW when a man approached the building, holding a glass beer bottle stuffed with a black cloth that he allegedly attempted to ignite, according to an affidavit from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. When the fabric failed to catch flame, the man, identified as Benjamin J. Grabinski, threw the bottle over the embassy’s gate, where it shattered.
Within minutes, officers spotted Grabinski on a sidewalk about two blocks from the embassy. When he was detained and arrested, Grabinski allegedly told officers that he “tried to light it, but it didn’t work, so I just threw it.”
About a week before, Grabinski had warned officers that he would attempt to firebomb the Chinese embassy.
Around 2 a.m. on May 29, an officer outside the building reported that they were being “harassed continuously” while sitting at a security post. Grabinski allegedly threw objects at the building and told the officer that “Next time, it’s going to be a firebomb!”
A couple of minutes later, an officer stopped Grabinski nearby and identified him using an Illinois identification card and a Department of Veterans Affairs card. During the interaction, Grabinski told the officer that he had traveled from Chicago to show discontent for the Chinese government. He said he had thrown a “small rock” at the embassy.
Grabinski is scheduled to appear in federal court in D.C at 5 p.m. on Friday.