Man Charged with Arson for Throwing Molotov Cocktail in Ballston Common Mall
|U.S. Attorney’s Office October 19, 2012|
ALEXANDRIA, VA—Leon Alphans Traille, Jr., 29, has been charged with committing arson for allegedly throwing a Molotov cocktail into the food court area of the Ballston Common Mall in Arlington, Virginia.
Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Richard W. Marianos, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives’ (ATF) Washington Field Division; James W. McJunkin, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office; and M. Douglas Scott, Arlington Chief of Police, made the announcement.
Traille was taken into custody on October 18, 2012, and was charged through a federal criminal complaint this morning with arson, which carries a mandatory minimum of five years and a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, if convicted. He will make an initial appearance at 2 p.m. before United States Magistrate Judge Theresa C. Buchanan in Alexandria federal court.
According to an affidavit filed with the criminal complaint, a man possessing a distinctive gray and red backpack threw a lit improvised explosive device, sometimes called a Molotov cocktail, into the food court area of Ballston Common Mall in Arlington. The device—a brown glass bottle fixed with matches—did not explode, but it produced a flame that was extinguished. After throwing the device, the man proceeded to the second floor skyway area of the shopping mall and dropped a bag containing three additional Molotov cocktails before exiting the mall.
The complaint alleges that witnesses who saw the man throwing the device provided law enforcement with a description matching that of Traille, and a video surveillance system allegedly caught a picture of Traille as he exited the shopping mall. He was apprehended yesterday afternoon in a public area near the mall in possession of the gray and red bag.
This case was investigated by the ATF’s Washington Field Division, FBI’s Washington Field Office, and the Arlington Police Department. The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Dennis Fitzpatrick of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia’s National Security and International Crime Unit.
Criminal complaints are only charges and not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.justice.gov/usao/vae.