California Man Arrested Near U.S. Capitol With Bayonet and Machete in Pickup Truck

U.S. Capitol police arrested a man early Monday morning on weapons charges for having a bayonet and a machete in his pickup truck that were found during a traffic stop a few blocks from the Capitol near the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee. Police said the man, Donald Craighead, 44, of Oceanside, California, told officers he was “on patrol” and spoke about white supremacist ideology. The truck had several swastikas on it, according to police photos.

The arrest is the latest incident at the Capitol in a year that has seen the January 6 riot, a deadly car attack on Capitol police in April by a mentally ill Black man follower of the Nation of Islam and the standoff with a mentally ill white man last month who claimed he had a bomb in his pickup truck.

Official Washington is on edge this week as a rally at the Capitol is planned for this Saturday to protest the abusive detention of non-violent January 6 protesters. The rally is being organized by Look Ahead America, a group led by Matt Braynard. Fencing is set to be erected around the Capitol before the rally.

Capitol Police statement:

USCP Officers Arrest California Man with Bayonet & Machete
September 13, 2021 Press Release
This morning the United States Capitol Police arrested a California man who had multiple knives in his truck near the Democratic National Committee headquarters.

“This is good police work plain and simple,” said Chief Tom Manger. “We applaud the officers’ keen observation and the teamwork that resulted in this arrest.”

Around midnight, a Special Operation Division Officer was on patrol when he noticed a Dodge Dakota pickup truck, with a swastika and other white supremacist symbols painted on it, outside of the DNC headquarters. The truck did not have a license plate. Instead, a picture of an American flag was placed where the license plate should have been. The Capitol Police officer pulled over the truck along the 500 block of South Capitol Street, SW.

The officers noticed a bayonet and machete, which are illegal in Washington, D.C., inside the truck.

The driver, 44-year-old Donald Craighead of Oceanside, California was arrested for Possession of Prohibited Weapons.

Craighead said he was “on patrol” and began talking about white supremacist ideology and other rhetoric pertaining to white supremacy.

“This is an excellent example of the work our officers do every day,” said Operational Services Bureau Deputy Chief Jason Bell. “We are so proud of these officers for their vigilance.”

The USCP Investigations Division is continuing our investigation on the suspect.

At this time, it is not clear if he was planning to attend any upcoming demonstrations or if he has ties to any previous cases in the area.

UPDATE: Craighead’s father told NBC News he is mentally ill.

Craighead’s brother and father in California told NBC News that the suspect has been estranged from his family for years and loved ones didn’t know where he had been living.

Years ago, the suspect was diagnosed with schizophrenia and had responded well to medication before he stopped taking them, according to his father, also named Donald Craighead.

“He’s (now) a homeless drifter who calls me when needs money for food,” the concerned father said. “No, he’s not well.”

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