FBI officials who arrested 22-year-old Marine reservist Yonathan Melaku outside of the Pentagon during a security scare last week say he recorded himself shooting at the National Museum of the Marine Corps and have linked him to a string of five shootings in October and November.
Federal prosecutors charged Melaku on Thursday with destruction of property and firearms violations in the Eastern District of Virginia. He’s accused of shooting at the Marine Corps museum two times as well as the Pentagon, a Marine Corps recruiting sub-station in Chantilly and a Coast Guard recruiting office in Woodbridge between Oct. 17 and Nov. 2.
Authorities said in an affidavit that they found bomb-making and explosives documents on Melaku’s computer, according to a preliminary FBI review. They also found a digital video tape of one of the shootings in his desk.
“I’ve already… that’s the military building… last time I hit them, they turned off the lights for like four or five days,” Melaku allegedly said in the video, according to an FBI affidavit. “So now here we go again; this time I’m going to turn it off permanently.”
“Alright the next time this video turns on, I will be shooting,” Melaku allegedly said. “That’s what they get. That’s my target. That’s the military building. It’s going to be attacked.”
Melaku allegedly yelled “Allahu Akbar” as he fired shots at the building. As he was being pursued by authorities last week, he dropped a backpack that authorities said contained “numerous spent 9mm shell casings, four bags containing ammonium nitrate and a spiral notebook with numerous Arabic statements referencing the Taliban, al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, ‘The Path to Jihad,’ as well as a list of several other individuals associated with foreign terrorist organizations.”
Officials said that it took over $100,000 to repair the buildings after the shootings, which took place late at night or early in the morning and involved multiple 9mm rounds.