Man planned to run down pedestrians, prosecutors say
Federal prosecutors Monday filed a criminal charge against a man who they say planned to run down pedestrians on the National Harbor waterfront, a popular tourist site along the Potomac River near Washington.
The man, Rondell Henry, 28, of Germantown, Md., was inspired by the terrorist group ISIS when he stole a U-Haul van from a parking garage in Alexandria, Va., on March 26, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Maryland, which has charged him with interstate transportation of a stolen vehicle.
Prosecutors say he drove the van early on March 27 to Dulles International Airport, where he got out and tried, unsuccessfully, for more than two hours to find a way through security. Henry then got back in the UHaul and drove to the National Harbor in Maryland, arriving around 10 a.m., they said.
According to the complaint, Henry, a computer engineer, walked around looking for an ideal spot for an attack. Because the crowds were too thin, he broke into a boat, according to court documents, and hid there overnight.
The next morning, police officers discovered the stolen U-Haul and arrested Henry after he leapt over a security fence from the boat dock, according to prosecutors. The authorities first identified Henry through registration records left in his BMW, which was parked in Alexandria, near where the U-Haul was stolen, they said.
Henry was reported missing after he left work around noon on March 26, and his family was concerned about his “physical and emotional welfare,” according to a public notice issued by the Montgomery County Police Department. A spokeswoman for Hughes Network Systems, a broadband satellite company in Germantown, said Henry had previously been employed there as an independent contractor. The company declined to provide details about his position.
Michael T. CitaraManis, a lawyer for Henry, did not immediately return a call for comment Monday. A detention hearing is scheduled for today in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, Md.