INTERVIEW – Prince George’s County Police Chief HANK STAWINSKI on the MD ISIS inspired man/National Harbor @PGPDNews
- Maryland man plotted to drive truck into pedestrians at National Harbor: court docs. NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. (FOX 5 DC) – A Montgomery County man is accused of plotting to drive a stolen U-Haul truck into crowds at National Harbor in an ISIS-inspired attack. FOX 5 has learned Rondell Henry, 28, of Germantown is a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in Trinidad. According to court documents he was an engineer. He was working at Hughes Network Systems, a broadband satellite company in Germantown. According to court documents, Henry walked off his job on March 26 and ditched his cell phone on the highway. Investigators say Henry stole a U-Haul van from Alexandria with the “intention of using it as a weapon against pedestrians on sidewalks within the National Harbor” after claiming to be inspired by ISIS. A detention memo says that for two years, Henry “harbored hatred for those who do not practice the Muslim faith.” After watching videos of foreign terrorists, Henry was inspired to conduct a “vehicular attack.” Court documents say on March 27, Henry first drove to Dulles International Airport at 5 a.m. in the stolen U-Haul, where he found the crowds outside were too thin. He then entered the terminal and tried to find a way through security. When he was unable to breach security at the airport, Henry returned to the U-Haul and drove to the National Harbor where he arrived at 10 a.m. Investigators say he again found the crowds were too small to carry out his plan. Authorities say Henry admitted that he wanted to create “panic and chaos” and that his plans for a truck attack were modeled after the deadly Bastille Day attack in Nice, France in 2016.
- PG COUNTY POLICE INVOLVEMENT: (WTOP) After two hours of failing to get past security at Dulles, Henry took the van to National Harbor, where they said he parked it and walked around. Henry allegedly changed his plans to drive into pedestrians when saw the low crowd size. Henry then broke into a boat to hide in overnight while waiting for larger crowds, according to the prosecutor’s filing. The following morning, police found the stolen U-Haul parked at National Harbor. Prince George’s police officers saw Henry jumping over a security fence and arrested him. Prince George’s County police chief Hank Stawinkski said that the arresting officers were able to establish that this case was more than just a stolen vehicle and that Henry represented a broader threat to the community. “It’s about going beyond what’s apparent and asking ‘is there more going on here than we’re aware of?’” Stawinski said. “The officers, instead of just handing that as a stolen vehicle, looked deeper,” Prince George’s County Police Chief Hank Stawinski said at a press conference on Monday night of the arrest. The court filing says Henry had no escape plan and instead intended to die while driving into pedestrians at National Harbor.