WASHINGTON -- The FBI says it has broken up a plot by a homegrown terrorist. The suspect, Demetrius Pitts, is accused offor the Fourth of July.
Pitts appeared in court on Monday. He was allegedly inspired by al Qaeda, but was not trained by the terror group. According to court papers, the plan included driving a remote controlled car packed with explosives into a Fourth of July parade.
Pitts asked an undercover FBI agent, "What would hit them in the core?"
The 48-year-old American citizen, who expressed a hatred for the U.S. military, allegedly scouted several locations in downtown Cleveland, including a United States Coast Guard station and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
In recent weeks, the FBI was growing increasingly uneasy that his words would eventually turn into action.
"His extensive criminal history including felonious assault, domestic violence, aggravated robbery, and carrying a concealed weapon furthered our reason for concern," said FBI Special Agent in Charge Stephen Anthony.
Pitts had been on the FBI's radar since 2015, when he left threatening messages on Facebook.
Investigators say the threats and planning continued until his arrest on Sunday. They say Pitts also discussed an attack in Philadelphia on Labor Day. He is facing up to 20 years in prison if convicted.