January 26th, 2012
12:12 PM ET

Reservist accused of shooting at Pentagon pleads guilty

A 23-year-old former Marine Corps reservist accused of shooting at the Pentagon and other military-related buildings in late 2010 has pleaded guilty to three counts on Thursday.

Yonathan Melaku agreed to a 25-year prison sentence. If Melaku had been convicted on all the federal charges, he could have faced a maximum life sentence.

The U.S. government accused Melaku of shooting at the Pentagon, the National Museum of the Marine Corps and a Coast Guard recruiting center in northern Virginia. Melaku pleaded guilty to injury to property of the United States by shooting with a firearm, using carrying and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence and attempted injury to veterans' memorials.

Melaku attempted to flee law enforcement back in June 2011 when they found him trespassing in Arlington National Cemetery, but he was apprehended. He discarded a backpack in which police found 9mm casings, numerous Arabic statements referencing al Qaeda, along with Ziplock bags containing ammonium nitrate, according to a police affidavit.

It was disclosed Thursday that Melaku's intention was to spray-paint grave markers with Arabic statements.

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Filed under: Courts • Crime • Justice
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Bill

    This is the kind of guy we really need to watch for in our population! Let's not let all this bogus political correctness get in the way of our security. This particular guy needs enough years in the chaingang so he's basically incapable of doing much of anything by the time he's eligible to get out. No BS probation and counseling, please!!

    January 26, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  2. James

    He deserves an award.While you sheeple do nothing.This makes the greedy nervous Every body needs to grow a pair.Politians will continue to walk over the middle class, unless there is a riot of mass proportion .

    January 26, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  3. banasy ©

    This never happened.
    The video clearly shows that they were rubber bullets.
    This, of course, is sarcasm.

    James. what a very mean-spirited thing to say.
    Pehaps anger managment is in order?

    January 26, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  4. banasy©

    What do you blow things up with, Philip?
    And thanks for the recipe...I'm sure someone will use it to harmlessly blow up a mailbox on Halloween, or something.

    January 26, 2012 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse |
  5. banasy©

    Oops: meant to say what do you blow up, Philip.
    You just told us what with.

    January 26, 2012 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Andy hrehorovich

    This story is well timed coming just after Rand Paul gets stopped at the airport.More pablum for the weak minded.

    January 26, 2012 at 11:37 pm | Report abuse |