US

Man Planned To Drive U-Haul Van Into Crowd At National Harbor, Feds Say

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Mary Margaret Olohan Social Issues Reporter

Federal prosecutors charged a man who they say planned to drive a U-Haul van into a crowd in National Harbor, Maryland.

Computer expert Rondell Henry, 28, of Germantown, Maryland, walked off his job on March 26 with the intent to commit an attack inspired by Islamic State propaganda, according to the Department of Justice Monday.

Prince George’s County police officers arrested him on March 28. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland charged him with interstate transportation of a stolen vehicle.

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Henry stole a U-Haul van and then drove around the Washington, D.C., metro area, authorities say. He allegedly drove to Dulles International Airport in Virginia and contemplated driving the van into “disbelievers” there, ABC News reported. However, authorities say he decided against this and drove to National Harbor instead.

Henry told authorities that upon arrival in National Harbor he chose to wait until larger crowds arrived. (RELATED: Truck Driver Terrorist Identified As 29-Year-Old Sayfullo Saipov)

Henry parked the van and hid overnight in a boat, according to authorities. Henry admitted to stealing the van and to “hatred” for anyone who is not Muslim, investigators said.

“I was just going to keep driving and driving and driving. I wasn’t going to stop,” Henry told investigators, according to a motion for detention.

Members of his family reported him missing on March 26 and stated they were concerned for his emotional well-being, authorities say.

“He was a computer engineer by trade, and knew nothing of explosives or firearms. 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,” federal prosecutors said in court documents.

Henry is set to appear in court for a detention hearing Tuesday, NBC News reported.

“We continue to gather evidence, as well as review evidence already obtained as part of this ongoing investigation,” U.S. Attorney Robert Hur said in a statement.

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