A man in the state of Maryland, accused in an alleged Islamic State-inspired terror plot to run down pedestrians with a truck, has been ordered held without bond.
Federal prosecutors argued in a court appearance Tuesday that there are no conditions under which 28-year-old Rondell Henry could be freed and be assured of returning for future court appearances, and that he represents a threat to the community.
Prosecutors allege Henry stole a truck from a suburban Washington shopping mall last month and drove around looking for terror targets.
After failing to breach security at Dulles International Airport, Henry is accused of driving to the National Harbor in Maryland — a Potomac River walkway lined with shops and restaurants, highly popular with tourists. But in the court filing, prosecutors say Henry did not find a large enough crowd for his desired act and decided to wait until later.
Police arrested Henry the next morning after he climbed out of a docked boat in which he hid all night and jumped over a security fence.
The government says Henry planned to drive the stolen truck over pedestrians. He allegedly told police, “I was just going to keep driving and driving and driving. I wasn’t going to stop.”
Prosecutors allege Henry was inspired by the 2016 IS truck attack in Nice, France, that killed 86 people.
They say Henry has a “hatred for those who do not practice the Muslim faith” and wanted to emulate those he saw in videos beheading civilians and fighting overseas.
In its criminal complaint, the government said that on March 26, the Alexandria Police Department in Virginia received a report about a leased U-Haul truck 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 that Henry has harbored “hatred” for those who do not practice the Muslim faith and was allegedly inspired by videos he watched of foreign terrorists.
Specifically, they said he was inspired by the 2016 terrorist attack in Nice, France, in which a man drove a truck at high speed into crowds, killing 86 people, and for which Islamic State claimed responsibility.
Henry “walked off his job in Germantown, Maryland, in the middle of the day, determined to walk down the extremist path,” the government alleged in court papers.
“Recognizing that his older four-door sedan would not cause the catastrophic damage that he desired, the defendant drove around the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area looking for a larger vehicle to steal.”
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