An Ethiopian man was arrested outside the Pentagon last week after Pentagon police say he drove through a checkpoint toward officers and later said, “I hate America and I was trying to kill people” as he was being apprehended, according to an affidavit filed in federal court.
Tamirat Yehualawork, 36, is charged with using “a vehicle as a weapon to intimidate, resist, and impede federal police officers while engaged in their official duties,” the affidavit said.
Yehualawork drove a black Ford Expedition through the checkpoint on Friday evening and broke off the drop arm, a special agent with the Pentagon Force Protection Agency wrote in the affidavit.
“Pentagon Police Department (PPD) officers tried to raise a secondary barrier blocking the vehicle, but he was moving too fast and drove over the barrier before it could raise,” the agent said, adding that Yehualawork continued to drive toward the Pentagon.
When an officer tried to get Yehualawork’s attention with a flashlight, the affidavit said, he accelerated his car toward the officer, who pointed his weapon at the vehicle and ordered it to stop. Yehualawork ignored him and kept driving, the agent wrote.
Officers were only able to stop Yehualawork when they used their cruisers to pin his SUV against a parked car by an entrance near the Pentagon’s south parking lot, the affidavit said.
Officers pulled him from his vehicle after he refused to get out, police alleged in the document.
Yehualawork yelled, “F**k America,” the affidavit said. “I hate America and I was trying to kill people,” he allegedly said.
Yehaulawork “is an Ethiopian national who entered the United States on a visa, but whose current immigration status is unclear,” the affidavit said.
Apadana Media has reached out to his attorney.
When asked why there was no public acknowledgment of the incident, a Pentagon spokesperson said the Pentagon does not comment on security threats or law enforcement issues if there are ongoing investigations of pending legal action.
CBS was the first to report on the incident.
A spokesperson for the Pentagon Force Protection Agency said there were no other passengers in the vehicle. The incident remains under investigation by PFPA, said Jacqueline Yost.
“The Pentagon Force Protection Agency continues to remain vigilant as we ensure the safety and security of the Pentagon Reservation and the people who work here,” Yost said in a statement.
Since the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001, attacks on the grounds of the Pentagon have been rare, but they do occur.
In August 2021, Austin William Lanz walked off a bus at the Pentagon and immediately attacked Pentagon police officer George Gonzalez with a knife, then used Gonzalez’s gun to kill himself. Gonzalez died of his injuries.