Fourth of July Plot Foiled
Authorities announced Monday a man had been arrested for planning a terrorist attack in Cleveland.
The man, Demetrius Nathaniel Pitts, was taken into custody Sunday and has been charged with attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. Pitts, who used the name Abdur Raheem Rafeeq on Facebook, came under FBI surveillance in 2017. Using social media, he repeatedly expressed a hatred of the United States. He also stated his desire to join the terrorist group al Qaeda. According to Stephen Anthony of the FBI, Pitts is a US citizen and was radicalized in the United States.
An affidavit provided by the FBI shows the chilling and savage details of Pitts plan. Pitts met with an undercover agent on multiple occasions to discuss plans for a terror attack during Cleveland’s Fourth of July parade. Originally Pitts wanted to use remote control cars with explosives but then thought explosive filled vehicles would be better.
“Yeah, like a full van,” Pitts said, according to the affidavit. “Why — why play wit’ ’em.”
Pitts then wanted to cancel the plan due to increased security in downtown Cleveland. However the plan was picked up again for Philadelphia. Pitts the reverted back to the idea of remote control cars and even suggested they be given to the children of military members.
Following a meeting between the agent and Pitts on July 1st, Pitts was taken into custody.
He is expected to appear in court Monday afternoon.