FBI: Man scouted for July 4 attack at parade in Cleveland

An American-born citizen who federal authorities say recently scouted locations in Cleveland to attack people watching Fourth of July fireworks and talked of carrying out additional bombings has been charged with trying to support terrorism.

Federal authorities said Monday that Demetrius Pitts, 48, had repeatedly expressed his support for al-Qaida for more than a year and talked about setting off bombs at a July 4 parade and later in his hometown of Philadelphia.

Pitts, of Maple Heights, was due in federal court Monday in Cleveland. There were no court documents listing an attorney for him.

He was arrested Sunday after meeting an undercover agent and charged with attempted support of a terrorist organization.

FBI Special Agent Stephen Anthony said it was not clear how close Pitts was to carrying out his threats, but he said authorities couldn’t sit back and wait to find out.

Authorities first began watching Pitts in 2017, after he made Facebook posts threatening violence against the U.S., Anthony said.

He later began meeting with an undercover agent and discussed several different ways to carry out an attack, according to court documents. Pitts also talked about his hatred for the U.S. military, Anthony said.

An undercover agent in late June gave Pitts a bus pass and cellphone that he thought were from al-Qaida supporters so that he could go downtown and look for locations to carry out his attacks, according to a complaint filed by authorities.

Pitts shot videos of potential targets such as a federal building and U.S. Coast Guard station and then turned over the phone last week, believing the photos and videos would be given to al-Qaida members, the document said.

In recent weeks, Pitts also talked about wanting to travel to Philadelphia, and on Sunday told the undercover agent he wanted to conduct reconnaissance for a future attack using a truck packed with explosives, similar to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, authorities said in the complaint.

Anthony said Pitts had been radicalized in the U.S. and that he had no information that Pitts had travelled out of the country.

Just Posted

Northern B.C. First Nation clan says ancient tools found at pipeline work site

THE CANADIAN PRESS HOUSTON, B.C. — Coastal GasLink says it has suspended… Continue reading

VIDEO: Community ‘comes together’ at opening ceremonies

The nation will focus its eyes on Red Deer for the next… Continue reading

Syrian chocolatier to hire, mentor refugees: ‘They come here to contribute’

ANTIGONISH, N.S. — A one-time Syrian refugee who founded a thriving Nova… Continue reading

RCMP in Kamloops, B.C., say robbery and kidnap victim was found safe

THE CANADIAN PRESS KAMLOOPS, B.C. — The Mounties say a woman was… Continue reading

Saskatchewan NDP calls for plan to reduce child hunger, cites high food bank use

THE CANADIAN PRESS SASKATOON — Saskatchewan NDP Leader Ryan Meili says the… Continue reading

VIDEO: Community ‘comes together’ at opening ceremonies

The nation will focus its eyes on Red Deer for the next… Continue reading

South African activists try to protect endangered pangolins

JOHANNESBURG — As World Pangolin Day is marked around the globe, Saturday,… Continue reading

Fourteen ‘dream’ homes ordered evacuated as sinkholes open in Sechelt, B.C.

Greg and Gerry Latham spent Friday morning scrambling to pack up family… Continue reading

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual assault: British newspaper

LONDON — A British newspaper says police in London are investigating an… Continue reading

Graham: U.S. should be stronger on Canadians detained in China

MUNICH — U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham said Friday the response by the… Continue reading

Conservative leaders to attend pro-pipeline rally in Saskatchewan

By Stephanie Taylor THE CANADIAN PRESS MOOSOMIN, Sask. — Federal Tory leader… Continue reading

Games athletes making themselves at home at RDC

Red Deer College’s campus will be home for the athletes during the 2019 Canada Winter Games

Alix resident captures beams of light near Lacombe

Lacombe, Blackfalds, Red Deer photos have since gone viral around the world

Welcome message from the mayor

On behalf of Red Deer city council, the City of Red Deer… Continue reading

Most Read