Suspect arrested after explosive devices sent to Trump critics and CNN
Bomb suspect Cesar Sayoc had been kicked out by his parents, so he has living in the van that we have seen in pictures today, according to a law enforcement official.
The sticker-covered white van was taken to an FBI facility in Miramar, Florida.
The FBI agents used flash bangs in making the arrest and took him into custody near the AutoZone in Plantation, the official said.
Sayoc was initially somewhat cooperative, the official said. He told investigators that the pipe bombs wouldn’t have hurt anyone and that he didn’t want to hurt anyone.
Sayoc has now retained a lawyer so the questioning has ceased, the official said.
When asked why bomb suspect Cesar Sayoc was targeting Democrats, Attorney General Jeff Sessions replied, "I don't know. Other than what you might normally expect. He may have been -- he appears to be partisan but that will be determined by the facts as the case goes forward. I'm not able to comment on that."
Partisanship and political rhetoric came up in another question, to which FBI Director Christopher Wray responded, "We're focused not on the (political) talk but on the work... It's too early at this stage for us to be discussing motivation in this particular case."
When asked if "nasty political rhetoric" might inspire violence, Wray said, "We're concerned about people committing acts of violence under any motivation."
FBI Director Christopher Wray said there could still be more suspicious packages with possible explosive devices out there.
“Today’s arrest does not mean we are all out of the woods. There may be more packages in transit now," he said.
He urged anyone with information to contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI or tips.fbi.gov.
Speaking at the Department of Justice press conference, New York Police Department Commissioner James O'Neill praised the cooperation between the NYPD and the FBI as "a partnership that was forged in fire."
He thanked the public and the media for their help, but warned that people should remain vigilant as the investigation continues.
"Today's arrest means the people across our nation are safe. But there might be more packages out there and everyone still needs to take caution," O'Neill said.
Authorities used a fingerprint found on an envelope sent to Rep. Maxine Waters to identify suspect Cesar Sayoc, FBI Director Christopher Wray said at Friday's news conference.
"Based on their initial analysis, they uncovered a latent fingerprint from one of the envelopes containing an I.E.D. That had been sent to Congresswoman Maxine Waters. We have confirmed this fingerprint is that of Cesar Sayoc," he said.
Authorities are looking at a possible DNA connection between samples collected from two different devices and a sample collected during one of Sayoc's earlier arrests in Florida, Wray added.
FBI Director Christopher Wray said 13 improvised explosive devices were sent to individuals around the county.
"Though we're still analyzing the devices in our laboratory, these are not hoax devices," he said.
The devices consisted of "roughly six inches of PVC pipe, a small clock, a battery, some wiring and what is known as energetic material, which is essentially potential explosives and material that give off heat and energy through a reaction to heat, shock or friction," Wray said
He described the investigation into the suspicious packages as "enormous" in scope and "of the greatest importance."
Attorney General Jeff Sessions began an ongoing Department of Justice press conference by lauding investigators and law enforcement as "the best in the world."
Suspect Cesar Sayoc, who was arrested earlier Friday, faces five federal charges, Sessions said:
- Interstate transportation of an explosive
- Illegal mailing of explosives
- Threats against former presidents and other persons
- Threatening interstate communications
- Assaulting current and former federal officers.
Sayoc faces up to 48 years in prison.
“I want to reiterate the defendant in this case is innocent until proven guilty," Sessions added after describing the charges.
Note: This post has been updated. During the news conference, Sessions said Sayoc could face 58 years in prison. The DOJ later clarified it was 48 years.