A Maple Heights, Ohio 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.
Pitts is a US 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.
According to the indictment, in June 2018, Pitts threatened to kidnap the president and cut off his head and hands. He also allegedly threatened 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 4th of July," Pitts said. "What would hit them at their core? Blow up in the, have a bomb blow up in the 4th of July parade."
According to authorities, Pitts said he wanted to park a van loaded with explosives somewhere in downtown Cleveland. 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'd "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 kids 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."