A Florida man alleged to have homemade explosive devices was arrested early Friday near a Tampa Bay area rally in support of a man being held in connection with last year’s insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, authorities said.
Garrett James Smith, 22, of Oldsmar, was arrested and charged with making and possessing a destructive device and loitering, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said during a news conference.
To mark the anniversary of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, the rally was held Thursday night outside the Pinellas County Jail was in support of Jeremy Brown, a member of the right wing Oath Keepers group. He was being held on charges of participating in the riot.
The sheriff said Smith was spotted across the street from the rally in a parking lot. Deputies said he was running away from the area, dressed in all black with his face covered. He was initially detained on the loitering charge, and deputies reported finding a pipe bomb when they searched his backpack. Another explosive was found during a search of Smith’s home, officials said.
Smith didn’t place or detonate any of the explosives, officials said. Gualtieri said Smith hasn’t been co-operating with investigators, and his political motivations weren’t immediately clear.
Smith was being held on US$300,000 bond. Jail records didn’t list an attorney for him.
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