Eric Sandow, arrested near CIA headquarters at a Virginia preschool, will stay in jail, judge decides
The Florida man who allegedly told officers at CIA Headquarters he had a gun and was later arrested with an AK-47 on nearby preschool property will stay in jail, a Virginia judge decided Thursday.
Eric Sandow, 32, of Gainesville, Florida, will remain behind bars while his criminal case plays out, Judge John Kassabian said after a brief bond hearing in the Fairfax County General District Court.
Sandow was charged with felony possession of a firearm on school property. He has not yet entered a plea, a court official said. His next court appearance is set for July 24.
The case marks another example of alarming security incidents in the Washington, DC, area involving government offices or officials, easily obtainable weapons and mentally unstable people.
“There are very likely mental health issues involved” in Sandow’s case, said Chris Carter, a defense attorney who represented Sandow at the hearing and asked for him to be released.
State prosecutors argued Sandow is too dangerous to release, noting “there were kids outside” the preschool when Sandow was arrested with the guns in his car.
Kassabian agreed to keep Sandow in jail as the case moves forward. “I have some concerns in regards to the dangerousness,” the judge said.
Sandow attended the hearing via a video link from jail, wearing a green jail uniform
Sandow walked to the gate of CIA Headquarters in Virginia on Tuesday and told officers, “I’m here and I have a gun,” a law enforcement source told CNN. Federal officers turned him away and notified Fairfax County police of his description, the source said.
Sandow was later arrested at a preschool less than 1.5 miles away. He allegedly trespassed on the grounds of Dolley Madison Preschool in McLean around 11 a.m. Tuesday, Fairfax County police said.
“He requested access to the (preschool) building facilities to use the restroom, which was denied by school staff,” Dolley Madison Preschool said in a statement Wednesday. “At no point did he gain physical entrance to the school building.”
Fairfax County police were then called to the scene.
“While speaking with him, he made statements he had weapons inside his car located on school property,” the police department said in a statement Wednesday.
“Officers searched the car and found two weapons, an AK-47 and a pistol, along with magazines and ammunition.”
Officers who interacted with Sandow around the time of his arrest found him exhibiting “incoherent” and “paranoid” behavior, court filings show.
“It does not appear he was acting in conjunction with anyone else,” Fairfax County police said. “Sandow did not make any threats and the weapons never left the vehicle.”
Sandow told the arresting officer he “worked for the CIA,” according to court filings, though there is no indication he has any legitimate ties to the agency.
Police officers told the court Sandow “exhibited paranoid behavior, irrational verbal behavior, incoherent statements and had an inability to state a plan or purpose” during his arrest, according to court filings.
Sandow does not appear to have a lengthy criminal history, public records show. He was charged with misdemeanor domestic battery in 2014, according to court records in Alachua County, Florida. But that case was closed because the “victim does not wish to prosecute,” the records show.
It’s also not clear what may have motivated the incident at the CIA gate. Sandow appears to have a limited social media footprint and did not declare a political party with his voter registration.