Cleveland was on Monday told to celebrate Independence Day without fear in the wake of Sunday's arrest of Demetrius Pitts, who the FBI alleges had intended to attack the city's downtown in a July 4 terror plot. Cleveland.com reports the Maple Heights resident voiced a desire to join a terror organization between 2015 and 2017, per FBI Special Agent in Charge Stephen Anthony, and he has been charged with attempting to provide material support to a terrorist organization.
In a Monday press conference, Anthony said that Pitts, who was born in Philadelphia, revealed his plans to an undercover cop. Allegedly among them: Hit Voinovich Park, where the fireworks are launched. "Just last week, this individual was walking around downtown Cleveland, taking reconnaissance for what he thought was a large scale attack on the Fourth of July," per US Attorney Justin Herdman, who alleged that Pitts expressed a desire to use an explosives-packed van to take spots like St. John's Cathedral "off the map," per Fox 8 (authorities did not specify whether any such materials had been obtained). Herdman says Pitts faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted. (Read more Cleveland stories.)