Man surrenders to police after stand-off over bomb threat near US Capitol

A North Carolina man who claimed to have a bomb in his pickup truck near the US Capitol surrendered to law enforcement Thursday after a standoff that lasted for five hours. Police have identified the suspect as Floyd Ray Roseberry, 49, from Grover, North Carolina. Roseberry’s bomb threat sparked a massive police response in an area that was the site of an attempted coup by a violent mob of Trump supporters just seven months prior.

Authorities investigate a pickup truck parked on the sidewalk in front of the Library of Congress’ Thomas Jefferson Building, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The incident began around 9:15 a.m. when witnesses reported that a suspicious vehicle drove onto the sidewalk outside the Library of Congress. Kelsey Campbell, a University of Wisconsin-Madison student visiting Washington for a class trip, told the Associated Press she and another student encountered Roseberry standing outside his truck, holding a bundle of dollar bills.

Campbell said Roseberry told her to call the police and tell them to evacuate the street while offering her the money he was holding. Campbell said she told Roseberry no, and he threw the money at Campbell and her friend as they ran away. Campbell said she and the other student found some police officers standing nearby and told them what happened. The officers then went to confront Roseberry.

Roseberry, now sitting inside his truck, told an officer that he had a bomb and was holding what appeared to be a detonator in his hand, US Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger told a news conference.

Police did not immediately know if there were explosives in the vehicle, but the Library of Congress, the Supreme Court, the Cannon House Office Building and the offices of the Republican National Committee were quickly evacuated. The Capitol came to a virtual standstill as police cordoned off the streets and the area was swarmed with officers from the Capitol Police, the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and Washington D.C. police.

Manger said police began communicating with Roseberry using a whiteboard and sharpshooters were deployed to the area surrounding the truck. Police delivered Roseberry a cellphone with a robot in an attempt to speak with him, but said he refused to use it. The standoff was resolved after roughly five hours of negotiations, ending when Roseberry crawled out of the truck and was taken into police custody.

Police were still searching the vehicle Thursday afternoon and had identified some “concerning” items, like propane containers in the bed of the truck, Manger said. But it was not clear whether Roseberry had any explosives in the vehicle.

Roseberry posted several videos on Facebook from his truck in the hours before he surrendered, where he professed anti-government views, directly addressed remarks to President Joe Biden demanding his resignation and called for US airstrikes on the Taliban in Afghanistan. The video and Roseberry’s Facebook profile have since been removed.

Roseberry could be seen inside a truck, holding a canister that he said was a bomb and speaking about a “revolution.” He claimed on the video that he had a seven-pound keg of gunpowder and 2.5 pounds of the explosive Tannerite in the truck bed and suggested there were four other bombs in the D.C. area. He also said his wife has cancer and their health insurance would not cover her treatment.

“I promised my wife I’d be home Sunday, whichever home it is. I’ve cleared my conscience with God,” Roseberry said in the video.

Roseberry frequently made pro-Trump posts on his now-removed Facebook and videos on his page appeared to show him at the November 14 “Million MAGA March” attended by thousands of Trump supporters claiming the 2020 presidential election was stolen. In one video, Roseberry appears to be filming as he marched with a crowd of people carrying American flags and Trump flags, shouting “stop the steal.”

As the news of Roseberry’s actions spread, Republican Representative Mo Brooks of Alabama made a tweet saying he sympathized with the “citizenry anger directed at dictatorial Socialism.”

“Although this terrorist’s motivation is not yet publicly known,” Brooks wrote, “generally speaking, I understand citizenry anger directed at dictatorial Socialism and its threat to liberty, freedom and the very fabric of American society.”

He added that the way to stop socialism is for “patriotic Americans to fight back” in upcoming election cycles. “I strongly encourage patriotic Americans to do exactly that more so than ever before. Bluntly stated, America’s future is at risk,” Brooks said.

Brooks, who voted to overturn the election of President Joe Biden, quickly drew criticism for his statement because of his role in the January 6 coup. Brooks spoke to the crowd at the “Stop the Steal” rally that morning and told them to “start taking down names and kicking ass.”

“Tell us you stand with the terrorist without telling us you stand with the terrorist,” Representative Eric Swalwell, Democrat from California, wrote in response to Brooks’ statement on Twitter.

Swalwell filed a civil lawsuit against Trump, Brooks, Donald Trump Jr. and former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani in March, accusing them of being “wholly responsible for the injury and destruction” caused by the mob.