FLASH ALERT: BOMB THREAT AT CAPITOL HILL, WASHINGTON DC, UNITED STATES
Team: Beatrice Fratini, NORTHCOM Team; Gabby Silberman, Sophie Provins, Jack Robinson, Extremism Team; Jade Patel, Emergency Management, Health, and Hazards Team; Marina Tovar, Counterintelligence and Cyber Team; Jujhar Singh, CENTCOM
Week of: Monday, August 16, 2021
Floyd Roy Roseberry holding an artifact, live streaming from his pickup truck
The Counterterrorism Group (CTG) is issuing a FLASH ALERT focusing on the recent bomb threat at the United States (US) Capitol Building in Washington DC. A male, identified as Floyd Roy Roseberry, parked a truck in front of the Library of Congress early today demanding to speak to President Biden. The suspect’s truck was armed with change, propane gas, ammonium nitrate, and tannerite. Individuals in the Washington DC area, specifically in the immediate and surrounding areas of the Capitol building are being evacuated and taken to a place of safety. While the suspect is under arrest, the threat level remains high until investigations conclude an outcome on allegations of multiple bombs that remain at large.
CTG is on HIGH alert from the ongoing and further bomb threats being made at the Capitol building and surrounding areas. Those in the impacted areas are currently being evacuated and will remain in a safe location until the claims of further bombs are cleared. With the suspect in custody, law enforcers are working to find the motive behind the attack, and the validity of further threats over the next 24 hours.
Floyd Roy Roseberry, 49, from Grover, North Carolina, claimed to have explosives (allegedly ammonium nitrate) in his pickup truck, which he parked in front of the Library of Congress (LOC) at Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on the morning of Thursday, August 19, 2021. He also claimed five other individuals were located in the area to carry out a “revolution”. Roseberry’s disapproval of the US healthcare system, loss of his mother, paranoia from medications or lack thereof, and online propaganda likely drove Roseberry to act on violent impulses against perceived injustices perpetrated by the US government. Various important and symbolic buildings are located around the area, including the US Capitol building and the Supreme Court of the United States, though the U.S. Congress was not in session. All surrounding buildings were evacuated. Popular restaurant chains are also located around LOC, which are likely to attract a large number of visitors who are trying to dine. Roseberry, in a live video he was recording, mentioned if police were going to shoot him “two and half blocks are going with me.” For this reason, 2nd Street Southeast to 4th Street Southeast and A Street Southeast to Independence Avenue Southeast was closed while on-scene investigations were ongoing. The live stream to record his attempted attack was likely used to reach a larger audience, and his rhetoric likely served to put him in a superior negotiating position, spreading fear among the general public.
Due to the timing of the event following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, there were likely tourists in the direct vicinity of the threat. Tourists are likely to visit the area surrounding the Library of Congress and Capitol Building due to their prominence in American history and politics, creating a high-risk situation for tourists if the threat is genuine. If international tourists were injured, it would likely cause the attack to have intercontinental effects such as travel notices regarding the US and political concerns. Impacts on international tourists are likely to make this an intercontinental issue and could lead to future safety issues when traveling to the US. Tourists are likely to visit the area surrounding the Capitol building, as well as the building itself due to its prominence in American history and politics. This leaves tourists in the region at high risk if the threat is genuine.
The trigger prompting Roseberry to commit this attack was likely his mother’s death, despite having other grievances. In the video, Roseberry harshly criticizes his health insurance for not covering part of his treatment, in addition to the lack of coverage for his wife's skin cancer treatment. Roseberry likely blames the Biden Administration for his situation, as healthcare infrastructures are under Biden’s administration scope of action. This complaint is likely to be framed under a broader complaint regarding the actions taken by the Biden Administration, such as the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, the migration policy, or the COVID-19 strategy. According to several Twitter users and Ceng News, before Roseberry's account was deleted his latest post was a video from Donald Trump Jr. condemning the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan. He also mentioned “the South is coming” and “Southern boys are here” in his live stream, likely referring to other conservatives inspired by the idea of “revolution”. In one of his online posts, he said “history was made by those who break the rules,” hinting that an act of civil disobedience is what is needed to have an actual change in the country. Various posts on his Facebook account also make his political views clear, including the fear of a loss of American traditions in favor of foreigners at the hands of the Democratic Party, support for Make America Great Again (MAGA) marches, and harsh criticism of President Biden’s actions in government. Roseberry states in the video “I am here for the American people,” possibly being linked to his understanding of what is a good American: a white, working-class worker, pro-constitution, patriot, and Trump supporter. All of this suggests that the attack he threatened was likely motivated by right-wing extremism.
According to his wife, Roseberry has been struggling with his mental health and recently had to change medications. This is likely to have contributed to his current mental state, probably feeding into an already-existing feeling of paranoia against the government, and prompting a reaction to triggers that pushed him to plan an attack on the US Capitol. Many of his statements were contradictory and extreme through the approximately 30-minute Livestream, indicating that he was not at baseline cognitive function; switching medications may have caused him to act on impulses, increase anxiety and aggression, and reduce his rationality. These negative, potentially violent responses likely indicate that the medication failed to alleviate symptoms associated with his mental illness, caused paranoid thoughts, or that the medication was not taken as prescribed. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic is highly likely to have exacerbated mental health issues.
The investigation is still ongoing, but the US Capitol Police believe that Roseberry was acting alone. Furthermore, they do not believe he possesses any law enforcement or military background and he is not a known figure to the Capitol Police. In his video, however, Roseberry has mentioned the bomb was “built by y’all’s people in the military", inferring that there was some support from people with military training. His truck contained coinage and readily available explosives like Tannerite, to likely serve as shrapnel if the bomb detonated. At the time of this report, it is unknown if Roseberry was the sole organizer of this attack or if it was conducted by an extremist organization or others who shared Roseberry's anti-government views. In the video Roseberry says that “the Southern Boys are coming”, perhaps referring to organizers that may have helped Roseberry to organize the attack. Roseberry also states “one of the guys blew his legs off building them”, reinforcing the thesis that this attack was not planned by a single individual. Roseberry’s live statement that “the revolution is on. It’s here… I’m ready to die for the cause'' likely foreshadows a plan by others who share similar anti-government ideals to take action for change, similarly to the motivations behind January 6, 2021, US Capitol attack. Police will continue the investigation as the threat remains pending to confirm if the statement of more members involved or bombs is confirmed.
CTG advises all people in the Washington DC area to continue with extra vigilance in the National Mall and high-traffic tourist areas until the allegations of more bombs are proven false. CTG recommends all citizens follow the guidelines given by law enforcement agencies and the Capitol Police as well as remain vigilant as the threat is still active. Law enforcement and response teams should remain vigilant for suspicious activity, and encourage people to report unordinary behaviors. They should monitor extremist social media accounts to foreshadow potential attacks, use K-9s to detect explosives in vehicles, and temporarily increase security at prominent government buildings such as the US Capitol and historical monuments. CTG recommends law enforcement agencies set up emergency hotlines to allow possible hints or activity reports which could provide further leads for the investigation. For more detailed information, such as a Threat Assessment report, or more tailored reports to specific threats, contact us at email@example.com.
Our analysis indicates that there is a HIGH PROBABILITY the event at the Capitol building was committed by a lone wolf, and although he shared conservative views, it is unlikely that he is part of a wider terror organization. Although law enforcement has no indications of the additional threats Roseberry mentioned, this event could likely inspire attacks by domestic extremist organizations due to the vulnerability of government buildings like the Library of Congress. Without a clear motive, the threat of further incidents similar to this is likely and should be anticipated until the investigation is concluded. Buildings within Washington, DC should stay on high alert until further developments are made into the validity of the threats and the location of the alleged bombs is made clear. Evacuations at suspected target locations are highly likely to continue as a precautionary measure until they are deemed safe by authorities and law enforcers.
The Counterterrorism Group (CTG) is a unit of the global risk consulting and security firm Paladin 7. CTG proactively searches for and analyzes the threat of terrorism that comes from International Terrorist Organizations, Domestic Terrorist Organizations, and Individuals determined to inflict terror upon societies, organizations, and individuals. Our international and national security professionals set up protective measures to detect, deter, and prevent, discourage, and dissuade any terrorist organization or individual from attacking organizations and individuals. We work to protect our clients from any terrorist threat or attack. We also work proactively with the proper authorities to find those in terrorist organizations and individuals who will cause harm and assist in bringing them to justice and mitigating the threat long-term.
 “I was able to get these stills of the device. He describes the trigger, but misuses certain terms. He says it’s triggered off “decimals” (not decibels) and he points to the round protruding bit and says it’s a “speaker.”” by EmilyGorcenski licensed under Public Domain
 Watch live: Police negotiating with bomb threat suspect near Library of Congress, WUSA9, August 2021, https://www.wusa9.com/article/news/local/dc/police-investigating-suspicious-vehicle-near-library-of-congress-dc/65-929bb208-8784-4b41-b1ba-188cb9ab20cd
 Capitol bomb threat: Suspicious vehicle near Library of Congress, WUSA9, August 2021, https://www.wusa9.com/article/news/local/dc/police-investigating-suspicious-vehicle-near-library-of-congress-dc/65-929bb208-8784-4b41-b1ba-188cb9ab20cd
 Meet Ray Roseberry, Broadcasting Live on Facebook from his Truck Mear U.S. Capitol, Ceng News, August 2021, https://www.cengnews.com/news/meet-ray-roseberry-broadcasting-live-on-facebook-from-truck-mear-u-s-capitol-65179.html
 Ray Roseberry Twitter Trend : Most Popular Tweets | United States, Tweet247, August 2021, https://www.tweet247.net/united%20states/ray%20roseberry
 Police respond to bomb threat near US Capitol, CNN, August 2021, https://edition.cnn.com/politics/live-news/us-capitol-suspected-explosives-08-19-21/index.html
 NEW: “The revolution is on. It’s here… I’m ready to die for the cause.”, Twitter, August 19, 2021, https://twitter.com/ryanjreilly/status/1428395576157249541