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Man arrested in Pentagon scare linked to 2010 shootings, official says

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Yonathan Melaku was detained last week in Arlington National Cemetery
  • Suspicious behavior set off a security scare that jammed Washington area traffic

Washington (CNN) -- A Marine reservist arrested after a bomb scare near the Pentagon last week has been linked to a series of 2010 shootings at the Pentagon and military facilities in northern Virginia, a law enforcement official said Wednesday.

No one was injured in the shootings, and the official -- who spoke to CNN on condition of anonymity -- didn't know the nature of the evidence or how many of the shootings might be connected to the man, Yonathan Melaku.

The shootings last year targeted the Pentagon, the National Museum of the Marine Corps and some military recruiting stations. No injuries were reported in those cases, which occurred in autumn 2010 and which the FBI said were connected by ballistics tests.

Melaku was picked up Friday, after the FBI said he was found trespassing in Arlington National Cemetery before dawn. He then pointed police toward a car parked in bushes on the side of a road near the Pentagon, setting off a security scare that closed commuter routes and snarled morning rush-hour traffic around the U.S. military headquarters.

No federal charges have been filed against Melaku, who is being held in Loudoun County, Virginia, on grand larceny charges in an unrelated incident.

Melaku had been free on bail on the grand larceny charges before last week's incident. His detention last week caused that $5,000 bond to be revoked, according to the Loudoun County Sheriff's Department.

A law enforcement official said that when stopped in Arlington, Melaku told authorities he had ammonium nitrate in his backpack. However, the material in the pack turned out to be inert. He also had a notebook in his backpack in which the words "Taliban" and "al Qaeda" were scrawled.

CNN's Carol Cratty contributed to this report.