Matthew Dmitri Richardson, 19, was spotted by Pentagon police on Monday morning as he was attempting to use a lighter to ignite a rag protruding from the gas tank of a car parked in the building’s north parking lot, according to court documents.
Declaring he was going to “blow this vehicle up” along with himself, Richardson bolted when an officer tried to detain him, crossing a pair of highways before hopping across a fence into Arlington National Cemetery.
The Fayetteville resident has been charged with “maliciously attempting to damage and destroy by means of fire, a vehicle used in and affecting interstate and foreign commerce,” according to the Justice Department, and could face anywhere from five to 20 years in prison.
When apprehended, he was carrying a cigarette lighter, gloves and documents related to an arrest last week for two counts of felony assault on an Arlington County law enforcement officer.
The manhunt eventually involved Arlington police, security from nearby Fort Myer military base, and US Park police, with K9 officers and a police helicopter deployed to track Richardson through the cemetery grounds. He was ultimately nabbed by the Pentagon’s Emergency Response Team near Arlington House.
The vehicle Richardson allegedly tried to blow up belonged to an active-duty service member with whom he is unacquainted, according to court documents.