Federal investigators are reporting that they’ve stopped a man who says he was planning to ram a stolen truck through a crowd at a popular U.S. tourist destination.
According to FOX 5 DC, 28-year-old former computer engineer Rondell Henry wanted to mow down pedestrians at the popular National Harbor convention center late last month in Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C. He says he was inspired by ISIS to make an attempt to “harm ‘disbelievers’” of his Muslim faith.
Henry followed a U-Haul truck with his BMW and later stole it, according to court documents, NBC News reported. Prosecutors say he wanted to use the truck instead of his BMW because it was a larger weapon.
Law enforcement officials say he wanted to drive the truck on sidewalks in order to trigger “panic and chaos” and hit people in a terrorist attack patterned after the truck attack in Nice, France that killed 86 people and injured 434 in 2016. He said he was prepared to die in the process of hurting others.
"I was just going to keep driving and driving and driving,” he told the FBI. “I wasn't going to stop."
Henry apparently wanted to do the attack at Dulles International Airport in Virginia first, but he found the security there to be too good. That’s when he switched to the National Harbor convention center but did not launch the attack right away because he wanted to wait for a larger crowd to hit.
Photo by dave_7 from Lethbridge, Canada. Featured photo by Forsaken Fotos from Maryland.
He broke into a nearby boat and hid overnight. That gave authorities time to catch up to him.
Henry’s family had already reported him missing after he had walked off his job a couple of days earlier on March 26. Police then found his BMW parked just a few spaces away from where the U-Haul truck was stolen.
On March 28, police saw Henry scrambling over a security fence and arrested him. He admitted to stealing the truck and wanting to run people over with it.