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ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) — A Marine Corps reservist carrying a backpack containing what authorities said were suspicious materials briefly fled police Friday before he was detained in the middle of the night near the Pentagon.
Yonathan Melaku, 22, of Alexandria, Va., was discovered after 1 a.m. Friday inside Arlington National Cemetery, hours after it had closed. He was detained for trespassing after becoming uncooperative, authorities said, though he has not yet been charged with anything. Authorities believe Melaku acted alone.
Investigators in protective white suits and bomb-sniffing dogs were going through his brick town-home in suburban Washington and removing evidence. Melaku is a naturalized citizen originally from Ethiopia.
Nothing suspicious was found in Melaku's car, a red 2011 Nissan that was parked in bushes near a Pentagon parking lot, authorities said, but they became alarmed by several items in his backpack.
Melaku had a bag with a substance that appeared to have contained a couple pounds of ammonium nitrate, a chemical compound widely used in fertilizers and can be used in explosives with the correct concentration, according to a law enforcement official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk about the investigation.
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