Bomb threat scare at U.S. Capitol

Roseberry spoke of “revolution” in a five hour standoff with Capitol police

By Tyler Clifton, Staff Writer

The U.S. Capitol came under threat on Aug. 19 when Floyd Ray Roseberry claimed to have a bomb in his truck when approached by a Capitol police officer that morning. Roseberry was charged with threatening to use a weapon of mass destruction last Friday.

Roseberry drove onto the sidewalk in front of the Library of Congress at approximately 9:15 a.m. Sydney Bobb, a student who was walking to a class at the United Methodist Building on Capitol Hill, saw Rosenberry in his parked truck.

“I look up, and I see a guy throwing ($1 bills) out of his truck,” she explained. “I hear him say, like, he had a bomb on him.”

A nearly five hour standoff ensued, during which Roseberry livestreamed on Facebook. While on the live-stream, Roseberry made several threats towards President Joe Biden and expressed his aim to start a revolution.

“The revolution is on. It’s here. It’s today. America needs a voice. I’ll give it to them,” Roseberry said.

Photo courtesy of
Floyd Ray Roseberry drove to the Library of Congress and livestreamed his threats on Facebook. Claiming that there were four other bombs around D.C., Roseberry faces life in prison for his actions. His trial was postponed.

He also claimed that there were four other bombs around D.C. and that there were other people involved.

Roseberry also claimed to have a keg of gunpowder as well as more than two pounds of the explosive ammo practice material Tannerite inside of his truck.

U.S. Capitol Police stated that, though they did not find a bomb in his car, they did find bomb-making materials.

In a Friday hearing, U.S. Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui charged Roseberry with attempting to use an explosive device and threatening to use a weapon of mass destruction.

The judge said that, if convicted of the weapon of mass destruction charge, Roseberry could face life in prison. The explosive device charge would mean up to 10 years in prison.

In the videos uploaded to Facebook during the standoff — which have since been taken down by the platform — he expressed anti-government views, blamed Democrats for the fallout of Afghanistan and demanded to speak with Biden before he would consider standing down. 

Capitol Police gradually made progress in the standoff negotiations. U.S. Capitol Chief of Police Tom Manger noted that communication was first achieved through whiteboards.

Eventually, Roseberry left the truck and was taken into custody.

“He got out of the vehicle and surrendered, and the tactical units that were nearby surrendered without incident,” Manger said.

After he surrendered, Capitol Police arrested and detained him without bail in a D.C. jail.

Among others, the Supreme Court, the Cannon House Building and the offices of the Republican National Committee were evacuated during the threat. Following Roseberry’s arrest, buildings ended their evacuation protocols. 

Both Congress and the Supreme Court are in recess, meaning neither building required an evacuation.

The FBI has already released an affidavit in conjunction with their investigation into the threats. In the affidavit, an unnamed relative of Rosenberry’s explained that Rosenberry told him some details of his plans.

“(He) ordered a trench coat to protect him from Taser and pepper ball guns and he would just tip his cowboy hat at police,” the relative said. 

Rosenberry had no history of criminal violence prior to his actions on Thursday, apart from traffic offenses and larceny charges years prior.

The sheriff described Rosenberry as a “sleeper case,” meaning that there were no overt signs that he would commit violent acts.

Roseberry’s family told reporters that he has a history of mental health problems, which caused his trial to be postponed on Wednesday. He told the judge deciding his case that he was put on new medication. This led the judge to postpone his trial for one month, citing concerns about mental stability.