Maryland resident Rondell Henry was allegedly an ISIS inspired terrorist who was prepared to target innocent civilians. Fortunately, he didn’t succeed. On Monday, the U.S. Attorney’s office in Maryland released the details of Henry’s alleged plot and it was frightening how to read how close he allegedly came to accomplishing a gruesome act of terror.
Prosecutors said he had stolen a U-Haul van with the intention of using it as a weapon to target and kill pedestrians on sidewalks of Maryland’s crowded National Harbor complex just outside of Washington D.C.
The Department of Justice released a statement Monday, charging Henry, with interstate transportation of a stolen vehicle. The charge seems frivolous compared to his homicidal terrorist plot he described to law enforcement and prosecutors.
On Tuesday the government filed the motion that argued “Henry to be detained pending trial” as he is a flight risk and danger to the community.
A senior law enforcement official told SaraACarter.com that “excellent local law enforcement and a vigilant public” led to the capture of Henry before he could target people at National Harbor.
It is a reminder that terrorists organizations, sympathizers and the ideology itself is still a dangerous reality.
The Detention Memo
The government memo alleges “Henry, who claimed to be inspired by the ISIS terrorist organization, stole a U-Haul van with the intention of using it as a weapon against pedestrians on sidewalks within the National Harbor complex along the Potomac River in Maryland.”
“We continue to gather evidence, as well as review evidence already obtained as part of this ongoing investigation,” said U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur in the press release. Hur “commended the FBI, the Prince George’s County Police Department, the Montgomery County Police Department, and the City of Alexandria Police Department for their work in the investigation.”
The detention memo obtained by SaraACarter.com describes in Henry’s own words his disdain for non-Muslims and his radicalization. It also describes Henry’s movements from the day he decided to attempt his killing spree and how he scoured the Washington D.C. area for a prime target location to attract the maximum media attention.
“For two years, the defendant has harbored ‘hatred’ (in his words) for ‘disbelievers’ who do not practice the Muslim faith,” the detention memo says. Henry would seek out and watch videos of foreign terrorists “beheading civilians and fighting overseas, the defendant considered these gruesome actions brave and he wanted to emulate them.”
Henry Chooses Vehicle As Weapon
The memo noted that Henry, however, did not have any weapons training.
But on March 26, Henry had finally made his decision to turn his ISIS fantasy into a reality. He walked off his job that day in Germantown, Maryland and got into his vehicle. Henry was allegedly searching for primary targets of opportunity, according the detention memo. He wasn’t satisfied that his vehicle would do the maximum damage so he searched for a vehicle to steal that was bigger and there was a reason for choosing this method, the prosecutors said.
“He was a computer engineer by trade, and knew nothing of explosives or firearms,” the memo stated. “But he knew how to drive, and he also knew of the terrorist truck attack in Nice, France. So the defendant decided to use what was readily at his disposal and conduct a vehicular attack on a crowd of innocents.”
After stealing a U-Haul van from Alexandria, Virginia, Henry first attempted to target people at Dulles International Airport. According to the memo, the ISIS sympathizer “drove around, arriving at Dulles International Airport in Virginia at approximately 5:00 a.m. on Wednesday, March 27, 2019.”
The government’s motion for detention alleges that Henry “exited his U-Haul and entered the terminal, trying to find a way through security, allegedly to harm ‘disbelievers’ in a way designed for maximum publicity.”
From the Detention Memo
“However, after more than two hours of failing to breach Dulles’s security perimeter he allegedly returned to the U-Haul, the statement says. At that point, Henry allegedly drove the U-Haul to the National Harbor in Maryland, arriving around 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, March 27. The motion for detention alleges that Henry parked the U-Haul and walked around a popular part of National Harbor. According to the motion for detention, Henry finally broke into a boat to hide overnight.
By the following morning, Thursday, March 28, police officers had discovered the location of the stolen U-Haul. When Henry leapt over the security fence from the boat dock, observant Prince George’s County Police officers arrested him.”
If Henry is convicted he faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for interstate transportation of a stolen vehicle, according to prosecutors.
“A criminal complaint is not a finding of guilt,” the DOJ release stated. “An individual charged by criminal complaint is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.
NOTE: A detention hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, April 9, 2019, at 12:45 p.m. in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, Maryland, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas M. DiGirolamo, according to the DOJ.