Pipe Bombs Discovered in DC Amid Capitol Riot: What to Know

While the Capitol riot has dominated the news cycle for the past week, but many missed the reports that — amid the chaos — multiple pipe bombs were discovered across Washington D.C. According to the AP, federal agents discovered homemade explosive devices at both the Republican and Democratic national committee offices. Law enforcement has released a photo of a masked individual who is wanted for questioning in connection to the pipe bombs. The person was also wearing a hooded sweatshirt with black pants and gloves, and also carried a bag of some kind.

Additionally, a separate situation arose closer to the Capitol, with police finding 11 Molotov cocktails made out of Mason jars and rags in a red truck with Alabama license plates. The vehicle first caught the eye of Capitol officers, as a gun was visible in the passenger seat. Upon inspection, officers found the "homemade napalm bombs" — as they were referred to by prosecutors — and also discovered an M4 Carbine rifle with loaded magazines. The vehicle's owner — Lonnie Coffman of Falkville, Alabama — has been arrested, but is not believed to be the same person who left the pipe bombs.

Detailing the circumstances of the pipe bombs, the FBI stated, "At approximately 1:00 p.m. EST on Jan. 6, 2021, multiple law enforcement agencies received reports of a suspected pipe bomb with wires at the headquarters of the Republican National Committee (RNC) located at 310 First Street Southeast in Washington, D.C." The statement added, "At approximately 1:15 p.m. EST, a second suspected pipe bomb with similar descriptors was reported at the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) at 430 South Capitol Street Southeast #3 in Washington, D.C." The FBI is currently "offering a reward of up to $50,000 for information leading to the location, arrest, and conviction of the person(s) responsible for the placement of suspected pipe bombs in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6, 2021."

There are now concerns that more violent acts, such as planting pipe bombs, could arise over the next week, as the inaugurations of president-elect Joe Biden and vice president-elect Kamala Harris are set to take place on Jan. 20. "It’s not unusual that this is a prime target," Joseph Young — a professor of political violence, terrorism and homeland security at American University— told the AP. "If the target is really about the seat of power, then D.C. is more effective." Young added, "There are obviously other spots in D.C. that are high value because they bring such attention to whatever your issue or your cause is. That’s the same reason people come to protest in D.C."