An elderly Alabama man who was among the riotous mob of Trump supporters who besieged the Capitol building last week was carrying an array of deadly weapons and a disturbing list of names, federal prosecutors have revealed.
Lonnie Leroy Coffman, 70, was arrested last week after Capitol police officers responded to reports of possible explosive devices in the area, the US attorney’s office for the District of Columbia said in a statement.
While sweeping the area they spotted what appeared to be the handle of a firearm in a car belonging to Coffman. When the vehicle was searched, police found multiple guns, a crossbow, a stun gun and an esky filled with 11 homemade Molotov cocktails.
What Coffman would later refer to as bombs when confronted by police, were mason jars filled with ignitable substances, rags, and lighters.
According to prosecutors, the Molotov cocktails were created to be “particularly lethal” and with “a napalm substance inside that would stick to the target and continue to burn”.
Authorities also found a list of “good guys” and “bad guys” which included the names of a federal judge and a House politician.
The list included Ohio Democrat Andre Carson with a note written next to it saying “one of two Muslims in the House of Reps.”
Also inside the vehicle were separate handwritten notes scrawled on a magazine with the purported contact information of right-wing talk show host Mark Levin, Fox News personality Sean Hannity and Texas Senator Ted Cruz.
Coffman was charged in a 17-count grand jury indictment Tuesday (local time) and is facing what appear to be the most serious offences brought against a Capitol rioter so far, the America Broadcast Company reports.
Congressman Carson said it was “extremely disturbing” to be singled out.
“It is extremely disturbing to learn from press reports that I was one of several individuals identified in a list of ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’ targeted for attacks,” he said in a statement.
Here's what prosecutors say LONNIE COFFMAN brought near the US Capitol on Jan. 6 pic.twitter.com/CWmtA4fOXm
— Scott MacFarlane (@MacFarlaneNews) January 12, 2021
“The indicted terrorist had the means and opportunity to carry out his plans to violently attack, injure and destroy government officials ... These were not idle threats. These were planned and organised measures to take my life, my colleagues’ lives and try to destroy our government.
“Sadly, as a Black man and a Muslim fighting for equality, I have often been the target of death threats by domestic terrorists. For years, I have warned my colleagues about the serious threat to national security by white nationalist domestic terrorists,” Congressman Carson added.
FBI warned about prospect of violence ahead of riot
The FBI warned law enforcement agencies ahead of last week’s breach of the US Capitol about the potential for extremist-driven violence, US officials said on Tuesday (local time).
It contradicted earlier statements that they were caught off guard by the assault by supporters of President Donald Trump.
Nearly a week after the riot, officials said they were combing through mountains of evidence and vowed to aggressively seek out those who perpetrated the brazen attack.
Though most of the charges brought so far have been misdemeanours, acting US Attorney Michael Sherwin said the Justice Department was considering bringing sedition charges against some of the rioters, effectively accusing them of attempting to overthrow or defeat the government.
The Justice Department has created a specialised strike force to examine the possibility of sedition charges, which could carry up to 20 years in prison. Officials said they were using some of the same techniques in the riot probe as they use in international counterterrorism investigations, examining the money flow and movement of defendants leading up to the breach.
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.