Federal prosecutors filed official charges against a Muslim American man named Rondell Henry this week, giving the public a glimpse of just how close we came to seeing mass tragedy unfold at the National Harbor in Maryland last month. In a lengthy complaint against Henry, prosecutors laid out the case against him. The ISIS sympathizer was apparently inspired by the truck attack in Nice, France, which caused the demise of 87 people and the wounding of more than 400 others. It was Henry’s plan to emulate that attack with a stolen U-Haul van and bring chaos and terror to the United States.
“The defendant, inspired by the ISIS terrorist organization and prepared to die for his cause, stole a vehicle with the intent of ‘plowing it through a crowd full of people’ at the National Harbor,” prosecutors wrote in the complaint.
On March 26, Henry allegedly stole the van in question from a parking garage in Alexandria, Virginia. The following day, he drove to Dulles International Airport with the apparent intention of using that as his target site. He was thwarted, however, when he realized how tight security was around one of the country’s most heavily-trafficked airports. He diverted to the National Harbor instead, where he found a target much more conducive to his horrific plan. He did not carry out his terror immediately, wishing to wait for a day where crowds at the harbor would be thicker and the fatalities higher.
It is fortunate that he chose to delay the attack, because while Henry was breaking into a boat and laying down for the night, police were tracking him down. They discovered the stolen U-Haul, ID’d the suspect, and tracked him back to the National Harbor. When Henry arose from his slumber and hopped a security fence from the dock, police arrested him and soon uncovered his bloodthirsty plot.
“For two years, the defendant has harbored ‘hatred’ (in his words) for ‘disbelievers’ who do not practice the Muslim faith,” the federal complaint reads. “Seeking out and watching videos of foreign terrorists beheading civilians and fighting overseas, the defendant considered these gruesome actions brave and he wanted to emulate them. The defendant, though, did not have any weapons training. He was a computer engineer by trade, and knew nothing of explosives or firearms. But he knew how to drive, and he also knew of the terrorist truck attack in Nice, France. So the defendant decided to use what was readily at his disposal and conduct a vehicular attack on a crowd of innocents.”
As grateful as we are that Henry never got to carry out his attack, this just shows how vulnerable we are to these so-called “lone wolf” terrorists…and how we’re not out of the Islamic terrorist woods yet.
Maybe not by a long shot.