The FBI on Sunday arrested a man who allegedly planned to detonate explosives packed in a van at a July 4 event in Cleveland.
Demetrius Nathanial Pitts, who resides in the Cleveland suburb of Maple Heights, Ohio, is being charged with attempted material support of a foreign terrorist organization. He allegedly conducted reconnaissance in downtown Cleveland, taking pictures of areas he was considering as targets.
Special Agent in Charge Stephen Anthony said the FBI has been investigating Pitts since 2017, and that the agency was alarmed by messages he posted to social media in support of the terrorist organization al Qaeda.
“Pitts’ statements of violent intentions continued to cause concern during the investigation, as he expressed a willingness to conduct a U.S.-based attack,” Anthony said during a press conference on Monday. “His Facebook posts, quite frankly, were disturbing.”
Pitts reportedly spoke out strongly against the U.S. military and said he wanted to “chop off heads and hands.”
He told an undercover agent that “blow[ing] up a July 4 parade” would hit people “to their core.”
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