A man in the District of Columbia was charged this week with attempted arson and other charges after trying to torch a police station in the nation’s capital, authorities said.
A criminal complaint showed Jerritt Jeremy Pace, 39, was charged with receiving an explosive in interstate commerce, using an instrumentality of interstate commerce to threaten the use of explosives, and attempted arson.
A court-appointed lawyer didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
According to a court filing obtained by The Epoch Times, Pace was observed by a police detective early May 29 standing alone in front of the Metropolitan Police Department’s Fourth District station.
Immediately thereafter, a ball of fire erupted in front of the building, and Pace fled.
The detective spread word of what happened and the suspect was soon apprehended.
Pace told officers that he started the fire with gasoline, officers said.
An investigation into the fire uncovered a Facebook post on Pace’s page made about one hour before the fireball ignited.
“I WILL BURN A 12 STATION DOWN SO QUICK IF THIS COMES TO MY TOWN….PLEASE COME ON DC AND LETS RIOT WITH THE REST OF THE NATION!!!!” Pace wrote, authorities said in the filing.
The term “12” is commonly used on the street to refer to the police, a detective said in the court statement.
The investigation found that Pace filled a plastic laundry detergent container with gasoline and a wick and ignited it in front of the precinct, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia stated. The explosion didn’t harm the building or any persons.
While the office “acknowledges the First Amendment right of individuals to protest peacefully, conduct that poses a grave risk to law enforcement, peaceful protestors, and community members alike will be prosecuted,” acting U.S. Attorney Michael Sherwin said in a statement.
The explosion came amid unrest near protests in Washington.
“Swift identification of violent offenders is key to stopping criminal acts that can destroy property, harm people, and take lives,” said Ashan Benedict, the special agent in charge for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ Washington office.
If convicted, Pace faces up to 30 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and three years of supervised release.
He is being held without bond pending trial, on order of U.S. Magistrate Judge Robin Meriweather.