The nation is applauding the FBI’s efforts to foil one man’s plan to attack downtown Cleveland during this year’s July 4th celebrations. The FBI successfully apprehended Demetrius N. Pitts, also known by the aliases Abdur Raheem Rahfeeq and Salahadeen Osama Waleed, on July 1.
The suspect was reportedly in contact with a known al-Qaeda terrorist group and attempting to plan a massive attack on the city. According to FBI agents, Pitts had considered multiple violent and catastrophic attacks including driving a remote-controlled car strapped with a bomb into the festivities. Another plot he discussed was driving a van loaded with dozens of explosives into a crowed. His talks with other terrorist members suggests Pitts was a coordinator of attacks rather than the individual who would carry them out in the future.
Unbeknownst to Pitts, one of the terrorists he was conversing with was actually an undercover FBI agents who was monitoring and recording all of their interactions. Once flagged by the agency, the suspect’s background was extensively checked. Pitts was previously convicted for domestic violence, assault and carrying a concealed weapon. He had also previously been flagged by the agency when he sent a violent online message to “The Craig Sewing Show.” He threatened, “The USA will be destroy.” He was well-known for making violent and threatening comments on social media posts.
During the suspect’s last meeting with the undercover FBI agent, he suggested that some of the bombs be given to children at the July 4th event. He hoped the children would go to play with the cars and unintentionally set off the explosives. Shortly later, authorities decided to arrest the suspect. He is being charged with attempted material support of a foreign terrorist organization.