A man found with several guns and bombs near the US Capitol last week while it was being attacked will remain in jail while he awaits trial on weapons charges, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.
The man, Lonnie Coffman of Alabama, was charged in one of the most alarming cases to emerge so far from last week’s events. He allegedly brought several guns, extra rounds of ammunition and nearly a dozen homemade explosives to the US Capitol area on the day of the attack. Investigators found the items in Coffman’s car and arrested him when he returned to his vehicle, according to court documents.
Magistrate Judge G. Michael Harvey of the DC District Court said he was alarmed by the “small armory" allegedly found in the car, and said Coffman would “pose a danger to the community” if released.
“It’s hard to understand why any one person would have the need for so much firepower. It raises significant concern… about what your intentions were on that day,” Harvey said at a virtual hearing.
Prosecutors have not accused Coffman of participating in the attack on the Capitol building. His lawyer, Tony Miles, said at a hearing on Tuesday that Coffman was “innocent” of the charges and questioned the strength of the case. He also noted that Coffman was an Army veteran who fought in Vietnam.
Investigators found handwritten notes in Coffman’s truck that included a quote about the need “to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution,” according to court records.
The notes also included the names of a Democratic member of Congress that he singled out for being Muslim, and an Obama-appointed judge. The handwritten notes also contained references to right-wing conspiracy websites.