Man indicted for threatening to kill President Trump, Trump family
CLEVELAND — A Maple Heights man who was previously indicted on federal charges for allegedly planning a terrorist attack in Cleveland last summer has now been charged with additional crimes, including threatening to kill President Donald Trump and his family.
The new indictment supersedes the previous one from January that charged Demetrius Nathaniel Pitts, 49, with attempting to provide material support to al-Qaida.
In addition to the original charge, Pitts has now been charged with threats against the president of the United States, threats against immediate family members of the president of the United States and two counts of false statements to law enforcement.
Pitts is a U.S. citizen who uses the aliases Abdur Raheem Rafeeq and Salah ad-Deen Osama Waleed. Authorities said they learned about Pitts in January 2017 following comments he posted on photographs of a possible jihad training camp, according to court documents.
He was arrested July 2, 2018, after having several meetings with an undercover FBI agent who he discussed his plans with for an attack on Cleveland.
According to the indictment, in June 2018, Pitts threatened to kidnap the president and cut off his head and hands. He also allegedly threatened President Trump’s family. The indictment states Pitts said he would, “Kill his kids. Kill his daughter, son-in-law. Kill ‘em all. He (the president) come out ‘cause you start killing his kids, chop their heads off… you send his kids back.”
The false statements to law enforcement charges came down because authorities say Pitts allegedly lied to the FBI about not having knowledge of a planned terrorist attack on Cleveland last year. Pitts also allegedly denied talking with an undercover agent who he believed was a member of al-Qaida.
Authorities say Pitts talked extensively about his plans to carry out an attack with an undercover agent he believed was an al-Qaida “brother.”
“I’m trying to figure out something that would shake them up on the Fourth of July,” Pitts said. “What would hit them at their core? Blow up in the, have a bomb blow up in the Fourth of July parade.”
According to authorities, Pitts said he wanted to park a van loaded with explosives somewhere Downtown.
During the undercover operation, Pitts turned over a cellphone to the agent that contained photos and videos of reconnaissance of possible target areas in Cleveland.
Pitts claimed he would “take targets such as St. John’s Cathedral off the map,” according to authorities. Pitts also allegedly discussed giving remote control toy cars armed with explosives to children of military uniform members.
When authorities said they reminded Pitts that his plan would kill people, he responded that he didn’t have any regrets or care.
Authorities said Pitts told them, “And I’m gonna be downtown when the – when the thing go off. I’m gonna be somewhere cuz I wanna see it go off.”