An Arkansas man was charged Tuesday with trying to blow up an SUV in a Pentagon parking lot, federal prosecutors in Virginia said.
A Pentagon police officer was on patrol just before 11 a.m. Monday when he saw Matthew Dmitri Richardson, 19, of Fayetteville, attempting to light on fire a piece of fabric that had been inserted into the gas tank of a 2016 Land Rover, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Eastern Virginia.
When the officer confronted Richardson, he said he was going to "blow this vehicle up" and "himself,” court documents say.
Richardson sprinted away from the officer, but was caught a short time later, according to the court documents.
Federal prosecutors said the owner of the vehicle is an active duty servicemember who doesn’t know Richardson.
The suspect was charged with maliciously attempting to damage and destroy a vehicle by means of fire. If convicted, he faces a mandatory minimum of five years in prison.
Richardson's initial court appearance was slated for Tuesday afternoon, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Alexandria. Court records did not list his attorney.
Tom Winter is a New York-based correspondent covering crime, courts, terrorism and financial fraud on the East Coast for the NBC News Investigative Unit.