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Man who shot military buildings in Virginia receives 25 year sentence

By Terry Frieden, CNN Justice Department Producer
updated 6:27 PM EST, Fri January 11, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Yonathan Melaku shot at the Pentagon and other buildings, prosecutors say
  • U.S. attorney: He "is a self-radicalized terrorist who carried out a campaign of fear"
  • He pleaded guilty in late January 2012 to charges of damaging government property

Washington (CNN) -- The former Marine reservist who admitted five shootings of military installations in Virginia in 2010 was sentenced to 25 years in prison Friday.

Yonathan Melaku, 24, of Alexandria shot at the Pentagon, the Marine Corps museum (twice), a Marine Corps recruiting center in Chantilly, and a Coast Guard recruiting office in Woodbridge, prosecutors said.

He "is a self-radicalized terrorist who carried out a campaign of fear that escalated until his arrest," said U.S. Attorney Neil MacBride in Alexandria. "This sentence is just punishment for the danger he poses to our community."

Melaku was arrested in Arlington National Ceremony in June 2011, where he told authorities he intended to desecrate the graves of U.S. soldiers and Marines. He said he was strongly opposed to U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He pleaded guilty in late January 2012 to charges of damaging government property and firearms violations. Authorities estimated the cost for repairs at the facilities exceeded $100,000.

Nobody was injured by the nighttime shootings.

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