Washington bomb squad destroys pressure cooker

Device was in 'suspicious' vehicle parked on the National Mall near the U.S. Capitol

WASHINGTON — A bomb squad safely destroyed a pressure cooker found in a “suspicious” vehicle parked on the National Mall near the U.S. Capitol and the vehicle’s owner was found and arrested, a U.S. Capitol Police spokeswoman said.

Police Lt. Kimberly A. Schneider told The Associated Press that officers on patrol noticed the vehicle Sunday evening.

“Further investigation revealed a pressure cooker, and an odour of gasoline was detected,” Schneider said.

Pressure cookers have been used to create explosive devices. Three people were killed and more than 260 others wounded in April 2013 when two pressure-cooker bombs were set off near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

Schneider said the bomb squad destroyed “items of concern in the vehicle including the pressure cooker.” She did not immediately identify the other items.

The vehicle’s owner was found and identified as Israel Shimeles of the Washington suburb of Alexandria, Virginia, Schneider said. Shimeles was arrested and charged with “operating after revocation,” Schneider said. Schneider didn’t elaborate on the charge. It wasn’t immediately known if he had an attorney.

Schneider said authorities including the U.S. Secret Service and the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force were assisting police.

The FBI did not immediately return a call for comment late Sunday.

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.