Man attempted car attack outside Pentagon and said “I hate America,” court documents say

An Ethiopian man living in Virginia who allegedly yelled “F*** America” and told officers “I hate America” is accused of attempting to attack federal police officers outside the Pentagon last week, according to federal court documents. 

Tamirat Yehualawork, 36, allegedly drove through a security checkpoint outside the Pentagon on Friday, speeding over a second security barrier and forcing police to pull guns and use their police vehicles to pin and stop Yehualawork’s car near the complex.

According to a police affidavit reviewed by CBS News, “As he crossed the bridge into the South Secure Parking lot of the Pentagon, a (Pentagon) officer shined his flashlight to get Yehualawork’s attention. The officer stated that once he got Yehualawork’s attention, he accelerated the vehicle towards him. The officer took cover, pointed his weapon at the vehicle, and began giving verbal commands that Yehualawork ignored. (He) then drove over a sidewalk and through grass towards the Pentagon Mall Entrance.”

According to the affidavit, Yehualawork “did not comply with officers’ commands to exit the vehicle and was forcibly removed from the Ford Expedition. He continued to resist as officers were placing him in handcuffs.”   

UNITED STATES – SEPTEMBER 24: Aerial view of the Pentagon building photographed on Sept. 24, 2017. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Bill Clark

A court filing from federal police describes what happened after the arrest. The court filing said, “After acknowledging his rights, Yehualawork told officers, “I hate America and I was trying to kill people.”

Court documents show Yehualawork has a listed address in Falls Church, Virginia. 

A judge in Virginia has ordered Yehualawork to be detained pending future hearings in the case. In the court order, the judge wrote “The facts indicate the defendant poses an ongoing danger to the community by clear and convincing evidence.”     

The court docket said he has no criminal record, prior to his arrest. He is currently in the custody of the U.S. Marshals.

Yehualawork’s defense attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CBS News. The court docket does not indicate whether Yehualawork has entered a plea in the case.

There have been prior attacks on the Pentagon police or near security barriers in the past two years. A Pentagon officer was killed in a stabbing at a nearby transit station in 2021.

In 2020, a man was arrested for attempting to set a car on fire with a possible explosive device in a parking lot on the grounds.

The Pentagon Force Protection Agency, which polices the Pentagon grounds, was created after the Sept. 11 terrorist attack.

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