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A diehard Trump supporter who claimed he had a bomb and livestreamed anti-government rants while parked outside the Library of Congress on Thursday has been taken into custody after five tense hours of negotiations.
“Moments ago, Floyd Ray Roseberry from North Carolina was taken into custody without incident,” U.S. Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger said in a 2:30 p.m. press conference.
At about 9:15 a.m., Capitol police responded to reports of a black pickup truck parked on a sidewalk, mere feet from the Capitol and Supreme Court. The driver told police that he had a bomb and a detonator in his hand, prompting the immediate evacuation of surrounding buildings, Manger said.
With snipers nearby, negotiators tried to communicate with Roseberry, 49, from Grover, who posted a Facebook livestream showing him parked outside the Court of Neptune statues on the west face of the Library of Congress, across the street from the Capitol.
In the video, Roseberry held a metal container of what he claimed was tannerite, a binary explosive compound popular with firearms enthusiasts for its ability to detonate by gunfire. The man in the video matched the description and location of a photo posted to Twitter by a passerby who captioned it “casually seeing witnessing a bomb threat on the way to class.”
— fupa mama (@nirvananoir) August 19, 2021
The woman who took the photo, University of Wisconsin student Sydney Bobb, told The Daily Beast she’s studying in D.C. for the summer and was walking to school with other students when she came upon Roseberry throwing money from the window of his truck and to call 911 because he had a bomb.
“I’m not from D.C., so I didn’t know if this was, like, a regular Tuesday,” Bobb, 22, said, adding she flagged it to nearby police. “My other classmates were...a block behind me, so my main concern was to let them know to cross the street.”
Capitol Police didn’t find a bomb inside Roseberry’s vehicle, but said later that “possible bomb making materials were collected from the truck.”
Roseberry identified himself in the livestream and on Facebook as a Trump supporter who is aggrieved about the situation in Afghanistan and believes the Democrats must “step down.”
Old videos on Roseberry’s Facebook page show he participated in at least one rally to overturn Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory, the “Million MAGA March” in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 14.
“I love this land,” Roseberry said in his livestream on Thursday, which was reviewed by The Daily Beast before it was removed. “We got a few options here, Joe. You shoot me, two-and-a-half blocks go with it. And then you’re talking about revolution? The revolution’s on. It’s here, it’s today. Told my wife I’d be home by Sunday. I’m looking for all my other patriots to come out and help me.”
After reportedly trying to negotiate with Roseberry via messages on a whiteboard, Manger said police eventually used a robot to deliver a phone but Roseberry surrendered shortly after.
In his livestream, Roseberry indicated several times that there were four other explosives, “sittin’ around this town,” but that he didn’t know where they were because “we all came in different ways.” He claimed his toolbox was full of ammonium nitrate.
“When this bomb goes off there’s gonna be four more right behind it, and then the patriots are gonna come, because you don’t know where them four are sitting one of them might be sitting at your backdoor—better, better talk to me, Joe,” Roseberry said at one point, referring to President Joe Biden, who he appeared to be speaking to throughout the rambling videos.
Roseberry expressed anger about the chaos in Afghanistan and said he was “taking a stand” for the people there as well as “the American people.”
“This ain’t about politics. This ain’t got nothing to do with politics, I don’t care if Donald Trump ever become president again don’t matter to me,” he said. “ I think y’all Democrats need to step down.”
Roseberry said he had a wife and two kids, but that they didn’t know he was there. A reporter for NBC Washington said he spoke to Roseberry’s wife, who said her husband left North Carolina last night on a purported fishing trip. She said her husband, who she said voted for Trump, had been upset with the result of the 2020 election.
According to North Carolina State Board of Elections records, Roseberry registered to vote for the first time on Nov. 5, 2016, three days before the election that sent Trump to the White House. His party affiliation is listed as Republican.
Shortly after Roseberry surrendered, Manger told reporters that the man’s criminal history was “nothing that serious.” He provided additional clues to Roseberry’s state of mind, saying that his mother passed away recently. In one of his livestreams, Roseberry had also mentioned: “We got a tenant renting my mom’s house because she died of cancer.”
Roseberry’s wife reportedly told NBC Washington that he has struggled with mental health issues and recently changed medication. A friend of Roseberry’s told The Daily Beast that Thursday’s events took him by surprise, since Roseberry always seemed “like a good guy, that I know of.”
In a video he began streaming an hour before the incident, Roseberry could be heard yelling out from the truck: “Hey! Tell ‘em to come out here and clear the Capitol! I’ve got a bomb in here! I don’t want nobody hurt!”
He then tossed a handful of money out of the window and invited a group of passersby to pick it up. He described himself as “an American patriot,” and that he had “cleared my conscience with God.”
“It’s love for America, buddy, I have no fear,” he said at one point, fighting back tears. “None. The cracking in my voice is the passion I have for the land I love.... And before you go cracking any pops on me, you better get your military experts out and ask them motherfuckers what a seven-and-a-half pound keg of gunpowder and a two-and-a-half pound of [explosives] on top of that can do.”
A video posted to Roseberry’s YouTube page on Sept. 24, 2017 showed him burning a Carolina Panthers jersey and hat, explaining that he’s doing it “because of Julius Peppers,” a Black defensive end who just that day had stayed in the locker room to protest then-President Donald Trump’s assertion that players who knelt during the national anthem should be fired.
“The has-been Carolina Panthers right there!” Roseberry shouts as the flames intensify. “They wanna burn my flag, and step on my flag, my pride…”
“We want a full apology from the NFL, don’t we?” says an off-camera voice.
“Go Donald Trump!” yells Roseberry.
“Trump rules!” shouts the voice from off camera.
Earlier this month, the Department of Homeland Security warned of potential violence by Trump supporters upset over what the former president has falsely called a “stolen election.”
Thursday’s incident came on the heels of months of threats aimed at the Capitol, beginning with the pro-Trump mob that stormed the building on Jan. 6 and left multiple people dead, including a Capitol Police officer.
In April, a man rammed a vehicle into a barricade outside the northern entrance of the Capitol, killing one U.S. Capitol Police officer and injuring another.
Security fencing that went up around the Capitol complex in the days after the Jan. 6 riot was just removed last month.
The FBI Washington Field Office’s National Capital Response Squad confirmed it was also responding to the situation. Bomb technicians from the Washington Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were also responding to the threat.
—With additional reporting by Kelly Weill, Jackie Kucinich, Andrew Kirell and Danika Fears
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