A 26-year-old Michigan man the feds suspected of supporting terrorist groups has been ordered held by a federal judge after he crashed into the car of an FBI agent following him around the anniversary of Sept. 11.
Reed S. Berry, 26, of St. Joseph was being tailed by an FBI special agent and a Michigan state police detective on the night of Sept. 9.
Berry, described as “very surveillance-conscious,” had spotted an FBI agent earlier in the day and allegedly got out of his car and “ran directly at her parked vehicle while staring directly at her.” Around 10:30 p.m., Berry allegedly did the same thing to a Michigan detective who had been trailing him, except he screamed this time.
That night, he allegedly drove around Benton Harbor and St. Joseph and at one point turned off his headlights and sat in his vehicle. Eventually, Berry allegedly cranked his car into reverse and sped directly as a car being used by FBI Special Agent Samuel J. Moore.
Moore wrote in an affidavit that he was only able to avoid being hit by Berry because of Tactical Emergency Vehicle Operator’s Course he had taken with the FBI.
“As soon as I realized what Berry was doing, I immediately accelerated forward and to the hard left, avoiding a direct collision only as a result of this maneuver that put me out of the way of Berry’s vehicle,” Moore wrote.
“Berry brought his vehicle to a halt when he was parallel with me, and looked directly at me for a moment,” he continued. “After that pause, I pulled away and Berry followed me closely with his high beam lights on, maintaining a distance of only about half a car length.”
At the next stop sign, Berry turned left and headed back to his home. Moore wrote that his actions “created a violent and dangerous situation” had he not performed the maneuver.
“He was feeling like a caged person,” Berry’s lawyer Elias Muawad told The Associated Press on Sunday.
The government also said that they have evidence, based on a search warrant executed on March 9, that Berry was trying to use the Internet to establish contact with foreign terrorist organizations.
“In addition to the present offense, defendant is well aware the FBI is using considerable resources to investigate whether defendant has been participating in terrorist-related activities,” U.S. Magistrate Hugh Brenneman wrote when ordering Berry stay jailed until trial.
Berry, according to the AP, had been freed from a Michigan prison this year “after serving a sentence for delivery or manufacture of marijuana.”