Rondell Henry of Germantown, Maryland, was inspired by the terrorist group ISIS when he stole a U-Haul van from a parking garage in Alexandria, Virginia, on March 26, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Maryland. He has been charged with interstate transportation of a stolen vehicle.
Prosecutors say Henry drove the van early on March 27 to Dulles International Airport, where he got out and tried, unsuccessfully, to find a way through security. Henry then drove to the National Harbor in Maryland.
According to prosecutors, Henry walked around looking for an ideal spot to mimic a 2016 Bastille Day attack in Nice, France, in which a truck barreled through a crowd of spectators, killing more than 80 people.
Because the crowds at the National Harbor waterfront on March 27, a Wednesday, were thin, he delayed his plans, prosecutors said. He broke into a boat and hid there overnight, according to court documents.
The next morning, police officers discovered the stolen U-Haul and arrested Henry after he leapt over a security fence from the boat dock, according to prosecutors. Authorities first identified Henry through registration records left in his BMW, which was parked in Alexandria, near where the U-Haul was stolen, they said.
Henry did not have an escape plan, because he did not plan to survive the attack, prosecutors said.
“I was just going to keep driving and driving and driving,” he is quoted as saying in a motion for detention filed Monday by federal prosecutors. “I wasn’t going to stop.”
A detention hearing is scheduled for Tuesday at 12:45 p.m. in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, Maryland.
Thomas Mooney, a lawyer representing Henry on state burglary and malicious destruction of property charges related to the National Harbor episode, said he would plead not guilty. A public defender representing Henry on the federal charge did not immediately return a call for comment Monday afternoon.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.