Maryland man plotted to drive truck into pedestrians at National Harbor: court docs

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A Montgomery County man is accused of plotting to drive a stolen U-Haul truck into crowds at National Harbor in an ISIS-inspired attack. 

FOX 5 has learned Rondell Henry, 28, of Germantown is a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in Trinidad. According to court documents he was an engineer. He was working at Hughes Network Systems, a broadband satellite company in Germantown.

According to court documents, Henry walked off his job on March 26 and ditched his cell phone on the highway.

Investigators say Henry stole a U-Haul van from Alexandria with the “intention of using it as a weapon against pedestrians on sidewalks within the National Harbor” after claiming to be inspired by ISIS.

A detention memo says that for two years, Henry “harbored hatred for those who do not practice the Muslim faith.” After watching videos of foreign terrorists, Henry was inspired to conduct a “vehicular attack.” 

Court documents say on March 27, Henry first drove to Dulles International Airport at 5 a.m. in the stolen U-Haul, where he found the crowds outside were too thin. He then entered the terminal and tried to find a way through security.

When he was unable to breach security at the airport, Henry returned to the U-Haul and drove to the National Harbor where he arrived at 10 a.m. Investigators say he again found the crowds were too small to carry out his plan. 

Authorities say Henry admitted that he wanted to create "panic and chaos" and that his plans for a truck attack were modeled after the deadly Bastille Day attack in Nice, France in 2016.

Prosecutors say Henry also told officers he was "just going to keep driving and driving and driving" and didn't plan on stopping.

After walking around National Harbor, court documents say Henry broke into a boat and hid overnight. The next morning, on March 28, Prince George’s County police saw Henry leap over a security fence and subsequently arrested him. 

Henry could face up to 10 years in prison for interstate transport of a stolen vehicle if convicted. 

Neighbors at his Germantown apartment community said Henry rarely spoke to them. One neighbor tells FOX 5 he wasn’t surprised that Henry was arrested because of his odd behavior.

“This is somebody when the FBI came here, I gave them every bit of information I could,” said Shea Foley. 

On Monday evening, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority released the following statement: 
"The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police Department is fully cooperating with local and federal law enforcement officials to ensure the safety of the traveling public. Airport operations were not impacted and continue as normal. No secured areas were breached."

A spokesman for the Baltimore field office of the FBI says investigators are expected to provide more information after Henry’s court appearance on Tuesday. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.