Engineer Derails Train While Trying To Crash Into USNS Mercy, Report Says

Federal prosecutors say that an engineer deliberately derailed a train on Tuesday near the Port of Los Angeles in an attempt to crash it into the USNS Mercy, a U.S. Military hospital ship that was deployed to the area to assist hospitals that may become overwhelmed with coronavirus patients.  
“[The 44-year-old suspect from] San Pedro, was charged with deliberately wrecking a train during the incident Tuesday, which lead to a derailment and fuel leak, according to charges,” The Los Angeles Times reported. “Prosecutors allege that [the suspect] derailed the train and deliberately crashed through barriers designed to stop engines before grinding to a halt 250 yards from the Mercy.”
According to an affidavit, the suspect allegedly told a California Highway Patrol officer, “You only get this chance once. The whole world is watching. I had to. People don’t know what’s going on here. Now they will.”
The CHP officer witnessed the incident and took the suspect into custody as the suspected tried to run from the scene.
The CHP officer reported seeing “the train smash into a concrete barrier at the end of the track, smash into a steel barrier, smash into a chain-link fence, slide through a parking lot, slide across another lot filled with gravel, and smash into a second chain-link fence.” 
The Department of Justice’s U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement:
In his first interview with the Los Angeles Port Police, [the suspect] acknowledged that he “did it,” saying that he was suspicious of the Mercy and believing it had an alternate purpose related to COVID-19 or a government takeover, the affidavit states. [The suspect] stated that he acted alone and had not pre-planned the attempted attack. While admitting to intentionally derailing and crashing the train, he said he knew it would bring media attention and “people could see for themselves,” referring to the Mercy, according to the affidavit.
In a second interview with FBI agents, [the suspect] stated that “he did it out of the desire to ‘wake people up,’” according to the affidavit. “[The suspect] stated that he thought that the U.S.N.S. Mercy was suspicious and did not believe ‘the ship is what they say it’s for.’”
The Los Angeles Port Police reviewed video recorded from the locomotive’s cab, according to the affidavit. One video shows the train clearly moving at a high rate of speed before crashing through various barriers and coming into close proximity to three occupied vehicles. A second video shows [the suspect] in the cab holding a lighted flare.
[The suspect] was held overnight on local charges, and he was turned over to FBI agents this morning. [The suspect] is expected to make an initial appearance in federal court this afternoon. 
The press release said that if convicted, the suspect could face up to 20 years in federal prison.
The departed San Diego for Los Angeles over a week ago and was sent there to help one of the nation’s largest cities deal with a potential massive surge in coronavirus cases. 
“This global crisis demands whole-of-government response, and we are ready to support,” said Capt. John Rotruck, Mercy’s Military Treatment Facility commanding officer. “Mercy brings a team of medical professionals, medical equipment, and supplies, all of which will act, in essence, as a ‘relief valve’ for local civilian hospitals in Los Angeles so that local health professionals can better focus on COVID-19 cases. We will use our agility and responsiveness as an afloat Medical Treatment Facility to do what the country asks, and bring relief where we are needed most.”

: Train engineer arrested on terrorism charges after allegedly running a locomotive off the tracks in an attempt to hit USNS Mercy. The Mercy is docked in the Port of LA to ease crowding at local hospitals during the pandemic. @Stu_Mundel reports from
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