More details coming out on Ethiopian descent Yonathan Melaku who is in custody in the suspect of this morning Pentagon bomb scare. Yonathan Melaku was awarded two medals in his nearly four years in the Marine Corps Reserve, but now he will be better known by a less distinguished title: Suspect in a bomb scare at the Pentagon.
Melaku joined the Marine Corps Reserves in September 2007 and is currently listed as a lance corporal and motor vehicle operator with a combat engineer battalion headquartered in Baltimore, according to the FBI. He has received the National Defense Service Medal and the Selected Marine Corps Reserve Medal. He has not been deployed overseas
It is unclear how Melaku went from serving in the military to getting involved in the strange and disruptive event, but he has shown signs of trouble recently.
“The general consensus is that it might be some type of mental issue with the guy,” said a law enforcement source who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is unfolding.
Melaku had a bag with a substance that at least initially appeared to be ammonium nitrate, which can be used in explosives with the correct concentration, according to a law enforcement official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk about the investigation. The chemical compound is also widely used in fertilizers.
But the official said there was nothing in the bag that could have detonated or resulted in an explosion.
The FBI declined to specify what was in the backpack, but said the items were undergoing further testing at the laboratory in Quantico.
“I can tell you this was not a device and that the products in the backpack are inert,” said Brenda Heck, special agent in charge of the counterterrorism unit at the FBI’s Washington field office.
Melaku was not believed to have any ties to al-Qaida or any other terrorist organization, according to another official, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Yonathan Melaku is a vehicle operator with the 4th Combat Engineer Battalion, based in Baltimore. He joined the Marine Corps Reserve in September 2007 but has never been deployed.
Melaku remained in the custody of the U.S. Park Police as investigators in protective white suits and bomb-sniffing dogs went through his brick town-home in suburban Washington and removed evidence.
Nothing suspicious was found in Melaku’s car, a red 2011 Nissan that was parked in bushes near a Pentagon parking lot, authorities said.
Melaku was arrested last month in Leesburg, Va., on grand larceny charges, accused of damaging a series of cars and stealing items from them. His attorney in that case did not return a call seeking comment Friday.
The investigation snarled morning rush hour traffic Friday as police closed off roads around the Pentagon, delaying the commute from Virginia into the District of Columbia.
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Source: Washingtonpost and kristv.com
Pentagon Bomb Scare Suspect, Yonathan Melaku’s, Franconia Home Searched
06-18-11 ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WUSA)– Dozens of FBI agents spent the day into the evening searching Yonathan Melaku’s home on the 6100 block of Sage in Fairfax County on Friday.
Melaku, is a 22-year old man of Ethiopian decent, he’s also a U.S. Marine reservist suspected of possibly having terrorist ties according to authorites. Investigators were alerted to him after he was found trespassing in Arlington Cemetery early Friday morning. A search for his car led authorities to a parking lot near the pentagon. Investigators, say they found writtings on a notebook that suggest Melaku may have ties to terrorist groups.
FBI agents wouldn’t say what if anything was found inside his home, but they could be seen leaving with boxes and bags believed to contain evidence. One neighbor said , “issues of terrorism, it seems like it’s just growing, and here it looks like it may have creeped into the neighborhood.”