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Criminal Justice News
Monday, October 22, 2012
Man Charged with Arson for Throwing Molotov Cocktail in Ballston Common Mall
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Leon Alphans Traille Jr., 29, has been
charged with committing arson for allegedly throwing a Molotov cocktail into
the food court area of the Ballston Common Mall in Arlington, Va.
Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern
District of Virginia; Richard W. Marianos, Special Agent in Charge of the ATF
Washington Field Division; James W. McJunkin, Assistant Director in Charge of
the FBI Washington Field Office; and M. Douglas Scott, Arlington Chief of
Police, made the announcement.
Traille was taken into custody on Oct. 18, 2012, and was
charged through a federal criminal complaint this morning with arson, which
carries a mandatory minimum of five years and a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison,
if convicted. He will make an initial appearance at 2 p.m. before United States
Magistrate Judge Theresa C. Buchanan in Alexandria federal court.
According to an affidavit filed with the criminal
complaint, a man possessing a distinctive gray and red backpack threw a lit
improvised explosive device, sometimes called a Molotov cocktail, into the food
court area of Ballston Common Mall in Arlington. The device – a brown glass
bottle fixed with matches – did not explode, but it produced a flame that was
extinguished. After throwing the device, the man proceeded to the second floor
skyway area of the shopping mall and dropped a bag containing three additional
Molotov cocktails before exiting the mall.
The complaint alleges that witnesses who saw the man
throwing the device provided law enforcement with a description matching that
of Traille, and a video surveillance system allegedly caught a picture of Traille
as he exited the shopping mall. He was apprehended yesterday afternoon in a
public area nearby the mall in possession of the gray and red bag.
This case was investigated by the ATF's Washington Field
Division, FBI's Washington Field Office, and the Arlington Police Department.
The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Dennis Fitzpatrick
of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia's National
Security and International Crime Unit.
Criminal complaints are only charges and not evidence of
guilt. A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.