© 2022 WKSU
Public Radio News for Northeast Ohio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

FBI says Cleveland Man Planned July 4 Terror Attack

photo of Demetrius Pitts
Pitts reportedly scouted locations for a possible attack.

The FBI announced Monday the arrest of a Maple Heights man who was allegedly attempting to assist Al Qaeda. Law enforcement officials say 48-year-old Demetrius Nathaniel Pitts, also known as Abdur Raheem Rafeeq, was planning to target downtown Cleveland over the July 4th holiday.

U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman says in addition to calling for violence on Facebook, Pitts planned to target various locations in downtown Cleveland and walked around last week to map them out.

"He looked for locations to park a van that would be packed with explosives, and just yesterday he discussed giving remote-controlled cars packed with explosives and shrapnel to the children of our military uniform members. When asked about the carnage this would cause, Pitts said comments like ‘I don’t care,’ and ‘I have no regrets'," he said.

The FBI filed the criminal complaint against Pitts Monday in U.S. District Court based on communication between Pitts and an undercover FBI agent.

The statutory maximum sentence for the charge is 20 years in prison.