The notorious Alabama man who parked a pickup truck packed with bombs and guns near the US Capitol likely intended to violently attack elected officials, feds say
- Lonnie Leroy Coffman, 70, was arrested in DC when officers found several guns, magazines of ammo, and components for 11 explosive devices in his pick-up truck, DOJ says.
- Coffman, of Falkville, Alabama, parked the truck only two blocks from the US Capitol, which a pro-Trump mob had occupied Wednesday.
- A grand jury has indicted Coffman on 17 federal charges.
A 70-year-old Alabama man was arrested after investigators found his pick-up truck packed with bombs and guns only two blocks from the US Capitol, the Department of Justice announced.
On Wednesday, when a crazed pro-Trump mob took control of the US Capitol building, Capitol Police Bomb Squad officers were called in to search the truck, according to the DOJ.
When they did, they found 11 Molotov cocktails in the form of mason jars filled with gasoline, rags, and lighters, prosecutors say. They also found a black handgun and an M4 Carbine assault rifle along with loaded magazines.
By running the plates on the truck, investigators learned it belonged to Lonnie Leroy Coffman, of Falkville, Alabama, according to a DOJ affidavit viewed by Insider.
Later in the night Coffman tried to return to his truck but was stopped by officers. He was carrying a 9mm Smith & Wesson handgun, a 22-caliber derringer style handgun, and two sets of vehicle keys that matched the truck, according to prosecutors.
Coffman told officers the mason jars contained melted Styrofoam and gasoline.
That combination is an explosive mixture that has the effect of napalm. When detonated, the melted Styrofoam ensures that the liquid sticks to the objects it hits, according to the DOJ.
Coffman was initially charged with one count of unlawful possession of a destructive device and a count of carrying a pistol without a license.
On Tuesday, though, a grand jury indicted Coffman on 17 federal charges, including related to the illegal possession of five firearms - two pistols, one revolver, an AR-15 and a shotgun - as well as other weapons charges, according to federal court documents.
He doesn't face charges related to entering the Capitol building, as other rioters have.
In a DOJ memo requesting pre-trial detention, prosecutors said investigators also found "concerning handwritten messages" in Coffman's truck.
One was a note, quoting Abraham Lincoln: "We The People Are The Rightful Masters Of Both The Congress And The Courts, Not To Overthrow The Constitution But To Overthrow The Men Who Pervert The Constitution," according to the DOJ. That note included information about several elected representatives, describing one as Muslim, and describing a judge as a "bad guy."
Another set of handwritten messages were found on the back of a magazine, and contained apparent contact information for "Conservative Talk Show Host Mark Levin," "Shaun [sic] Hannity," and "Senator Ted Cruz," the DOJ wrote.
"The pickup truck was parked in close proximity to the U.S. Capitol Building," prosecutors wrote in a memo seeking pretrial detention. "And the handwritten messages in the defendant's pickup truck raise grave concerns about his intentions, and suggest that these weapons were intended to be used in an effort to violently attack our elected representatives."
Prosecutors also noted Coffman is unemployed and likely homeless as a reason for pretrial detention.
"The defendant has a concerning history and characteristics that raise grave risk that he would endanger the community and flee if released," the documents said. "The defendant does not reside in Washington, D.C., and we are unaware of any family in the area. He reported to law enforcement that he was living out of his truck in the days preceding the January 6 rioting."
At a press conference last week, Acting US attorney of Washington, DC, Michael Sherwin, said 15 charges had already been filed against the rioters.
While he didn't name Coffman then, he described the Molotov cocktails in his truck as "ready to go."
—Jeremy Gray (@jgray78) January 12, 2021
"Make no mistake about this: It was a very dangerous situation," Sherwin said at the time. "We are aggressively trying to address these cases as soon as possible."Expanded Coverage Module: capitol-siege-module
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