The Arlington, Va., man who triggered a bomb scare Sunday near the National Mall apologized and explained the pressure cooker that Capitol Police exploded was used for his food truck business, NBC4 reported on Monday.
Acting out of an abundance of caution during the annual Memorial Day concert that draws thousands to the Capitol grounds, a bomb squad smashed his back window of a "suspicious" car parked on the west side of Third Street Northwest, removed the pressure cooker and a propane tank — also food truck equipment — and then blew them up. Police arrested Israel Sean Shimlis, owner of the car, and charged him with "Operating After Revocation," a traffic offense that will be prosecuted by the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia. Shimlis was released on citation to appear in court on June 17. If convicted, he could face fines and/or up to one year in prison.
"Upon investigation, [Capitol Police] decided not to charge him with any additional charges," AG spokesman Robert Marcus said in an email. He also noted an apparent "internal dispute" on the police report about the defendent's last name. (Capitol Police originally stated "Shimeles.")
Shimlis did not respond to a voicemail from CQ Roll Call seeking comment, but he did explain his parking choice to the local TV station in a phone interview.
“I just happened to be there,” Shimlis said. “I should have thought about it a little bit more. You know, if I had to do it again, absolutely I would have been a little more careful.” He also apologized “for the inconvenience" to the people out to enjoy Memorial Day festivities, calling his action "something stupid that I should have thought a little bit more about it. That’s that.”
Though his equipment is destroyed, Shimlis did not seem in the interview to hold any ill will towards police. "Right in front of the Capitol, of course I would have done the same thing,“ he told NBC4. As for why the pressure cooker and propane tank were in his parked car, Shimlis explained he was trying to make space in his food truck.
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