WASHINGTON D.C. (WMBB) — A Panama City man placed an explosive-filled backpack near the Chinese Embassy in Washington D.C. and then attempted to set it off with a rifle, according to federal authorities.
Christopher Rodriguez is charged by the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms with damaging property occupied by a foreign government, possession of explosive materials during the commission of a federal felony, malicious use of explosive materials, and possession of an unregistered firearm.
An ATF agent wrote in an arrest warrant that Rodriguez placed 15 pounds of a binary explosive mixture in a backpack and left it near the back wall and fence of the People’s Republic of China Embassy in the early morning hours of Sept. 25. He then went to a nearby gravel pit and attempted to shoot the backpack with a rifle causing the explosion, investigators wrote.
However, Rodriguez was not able to hit the target and no explosion occurred.
“Impact marks located on the wall near the bullet fragments were found behind where the backpack had been located,” the arrest warrant stated.
“Based on my training and experience and consultation with ATF Destructive Device Determiners, the concealment of suspected explosives within the backpack, along with the reflective tape and shell casings, are consistent with the tape being used as an aiming point and an attempt to detonate the explosives concealed within the bag. I further believe that the presence of shell casings near the gravel pile and bullet fragmentations near the wall indicates that one or more subjects attempted to detonate the explosives by shooting at the backpack from in or around that location,” the criminal complaint read.
The arrest affidavit states that the ATF has DNA evidence along with video surveillance, vehicle information, and phone records that tie Rodriguez to the crime. Court documents do not describe a motive for the alleged crime.
Rodriguez was arrested in Louisiana on Wednesday. Court documents described him as being licensed to practice law in Florida.