Alabama man who parked Molotov cocktail–filled pickup in front of Capitol indicted by DC grand jury

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A grand jury in Washington, D.C., indicted an Alabama man on a slew of charges Tuesday after his pickup truck was found parked in front of the U.S. Capitol loaded with guns, as well gasoline-filled mason jars and other materials to assemble nearly a dozen Molotov cocktails. 

Lonnie Leroy Coffman, 70, of Falkville, Ala., is facing 17 weapons-related charges, the most serious charges filed by the Justice Department so far in connection to the unrest at the U.S. Capitol last week, the Montgomery Advertiser reported.

As rioters breached the building on Jan. 6, U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) officers simultaneously responded to reports of possible explosive devices in the area around the Capitol. 

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In the course of conducting a protective sweep of the area, officers observed the handle of what appeared to be a firearm on the front right passenger seat of a red pickup truck with Alabama tags, according to a criminal complaint filed Friday by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Columbia. 

A law enforcement database check of the vehicle registration revealed that the vehicle was registered to Lonnie L. Coffman with a home address in Falkville, Ala. USCP Bomb Squad members subsequently searched the vehicle and secured one handgun, one M4 Carbine assault rifle along with rifle magazines loaded with ammunition, and components for the construction of 11 “Molotov Cocktails” in the form of mason jars filled with ignitable substances, rags and lighters, the complaint said.

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Later that evening, Coffman was stopped in the vicinity of his truck when he attempted to return to his vehicle, the complaint said. He was subsequently searched and found in possession of a Smith & Wesson 9mm handgun, a 22-caliber derringer style handgun, and two sets of vehicle keys that matched the truck. He was taken into custody and held over the weekend. 

The complaint said Coffman told officers that the mason jars contained melted Styrofoam and gasoline. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) advised that the combination of melted Styrofoam and gasoline is an explosive mixture that has the effect of napalm because, when detonated, the substance causes the flammable liquid to better stick to objects it hits.

According to the federal indictment, Coffman was also in possession of a “large-capacity ammo feeding device.”

Violent protesters, loyal to President Donald Trump, storm the Capitol, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

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Unlike the other defendant charged by the Justice Department on Tuesday, Coffman is not accused of entering the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6. A grand jury in D.C. on Tuesday indicted a second man, Mark Jefferson Leffingwell, on seven counts related to violence inside the Capitol.

Also on Jan. 6, two pipe bombs were discovered at the offices for the Republican and Democratic national committees in D.C. The FBI on Monday released new surveillance photos of the suspect allegedly responsible for placing the bombs. The grainy images showed someone in a hoodie with a mask covering his or her face, wearing gloves and carrying a dark-colored backpack. 

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