CLEVELAND – A man who reportedly said multiple times he desired to participate in a foreign terrorist organization recently conducted an initial survey of "enemies" in downtown Cleveland, planning to pack a van with explosives for a July 4 attack, according to WJW.
Demetrius Nathanial Pitts, also known as Abdur Raheem Rahfeeq, was arrested yesterday following a months-long investigation that was prompted by statements he made on social media.
Details of the plot were outlined in a 30-page long complaint filed against Pitts. He now faces charges for attempted material support of a foreign terrorist organization and will appear in court on Monday.
According to FBI Special Agent in Charge Stephen Anthony, the FBI initially learned of statements Pitts made supporting Al Qaeda and showing violent intentions against armed forces in 2017.
Pitts recently relocated to Cleveland in May and authorities are still investigating his claims.
Anthony reported that just last week, Pitts met with an undercover agent and made statements like "what would hit them in their core? Blow up at the Fourth of July parade." Pitts further mentioned plans to conduct a future attack in Philadelphia.
U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman said during his conversations with undercover agents, Pitts said he planned to use a van packed with explosives, wanting to target people watching fireworks and the downtown parade.
Authorities reported that Pitts is a United States citizen and it is yet to be clear if he had access to explosives or even a history of using them. Pitts does not have an extensive criminal history.
Pitts was arrested Sunday.