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Fayetteville man arrested for attempting to blow up vehicle at Pentagon

An officer allegedly observed the man standing next to a vehicle striking a cigarette lighter to a piece of fabric that was inserted into the vehicle's gas tank.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A Fayetteville, Arkansas man will appear in federal court Tuesday (Feb. 25) on charges relating to attempting to blow up a vehicle at the Pentagon.  

According to court documents, Matthew Dmitri Richardson, 19, of Fayetteville, was found in the Pentagon North Parking lot on Monday (Feb. 24) morning by a Pentagon Police Officer on patrol. 

The officer allegedly observed Richardson standing next to a vehicle striking a cigarette lighter to a piece of fabric that was inserted into the vehicle's gas tank. 

After the officer approached Richardson, he told him he was going to "blow this vehicle up" and "himself".  

When the officer attempted to detain Richardson, Richardson pulled away and ran across the parking lot. 

Surveillance footage shows Richardson jumping over a fence into the Arlington National Cemetery. 

Richardson was later found by the Pentagon Force Protection AgencyPolice Emergency Response Team near the Arlington House. 

According to court documents, after a search of Richardson, officers allegedly discovered a cigarette lighter, gloves, and court documents related to Richardson's arrest on or about February 22 for two counts of felony assault on a law enforcement officer in Arlington County. 

The owner of the vehicle is an active-duty servicemember and does not know Richardson, according to court documents. 

Richardson is charged with maliciously attempting to damage and destroy by means of fire, a vehicle used in and affecting interstate and foreign commerce. 

If convicted, he faces a mandatory minimum of five years in prison and a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.