Police at the United States Capitol on Monday arrested a man who had several knives, including a bayonet and a machete, in his truck near the Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington DC.
Patrol officers noticed a Dodge Dakota pickup truck that had a swastika and other white supremacist symbols painted on it around midnight Sunday. According to photos released by the police, the truck did not have a license plate but an image of an American flag. The truck also had antlers attached to its front grill.
The owner of the truck has been identified as Donald Craighead, 44, of Oceanside, Calif. Bayonets and machetes are illegal in Washington DC, police say.
“Craighead has said he is ‘on patrol’ and has started talking about white supremacist ideology and other rhetoric relating to white supremacy,” according to a press release from the Capitol Police.
“It’s good policing, clear and simple,” Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger said. “We applaud the officers’ careful observation and the teamwork that culminated in this arrest.”
Monday’s incident comes less than a month after a North Carolina man who claimed to have a bomb in a van near the Capitol surrendered to law enforcement after a standoff of several hours. Police who searched the vehicle said they did not find a bomb but collected material that could make bombs.
Craighead’s arrest also comes as law enforcement officials brace for potential unrest and violence at a right-wing rally on Saturday. The rally, titled Justice for J6, aims to defend the nearly 600 insurgents who have been indicted in connection with the deadly attack on the Capitol on January 6 this year.
Senior congressional security officials are expected to reinstall a 7-foot fence around the Capitol and allow the use of lethal force before the rally. Officials have not yet planned to contact the National Guard because their assessment of the threat did not justify their deployment, according to sources familiar with the matter.
“We intend to preserve the integrity of the Capitol,” Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said last Wednesday. “What happened on January 6 was such an assault on this magnificent Capitol, under the dome that Lincoln built during the Civil War.”
In an interview with USA Today, Craighead’s father said he didn’t believe his son was in Washington attending the upcoming rally on Saturday, adding that his son was struggling with drug addiction and mental illness. “He is not a Trump supporter; I don’t think he ever hurt anyone, ”said Donald W Craighead.