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Posted at 07:04 PM ET, 12/01/2011

Man accused in military site shootings appears in court

A Fairfax County man and a former Marine reservist on Thursday was ordered held in jail as he faces federal charges that he carried out a series of high-profile shootings that targeted the Pentagon and other military sites across the region.

(Yonathan Melaku)
Yonathan Melaku, 23, of Alexandria, is facing four charges, two counts of causing damage to U.S. property with a firearm and two of using a firearm in relation to a crime of violence.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Neil Hammerstrom said that Melaku is a danger to the community and a flight risk, but Melaku’s attorney, Gregory English, argued he could be safely put in the custody of his father.

Melaku is accused of shooting at five military sites across the region — including the National Museum of the Marine Corps — between Oct. 16 and Nov. 2 of last year. The shootings, all of which took place in the overnight or early-morning hours, began Oct. 16, 2010, when shots were fired at the windows of the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Prince William County. No one was hurt.

In November, Melaku was convicted of grand larceny in Loudoun County in connection with a spate of vehicle break-ins unrelated to the shootings at the military institutions. He was also found guilty of attempting to escape from his jail cell in September.

By  |  07:04 PM ET, 12/01/2011


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