Lawyers for the man accused of throwing a molotov cocktail inside the Ballston Common Mall requested a mental health evaluation for him during an afternoon hearing in U.S. District Court in Alexandria.
The request for a “capacity determination” for Leon Alphans Traille Jr. needed to be reviewed by the government before it could be granted by U.S. Magistrate Judge T. Rawles Jones, Jr.
It came during a scheduled preliminary hearing for Traille, who is charged with arson. Traille, 29, did not speak during the proceeding. He will remain in custody, said Peter Carr, spokesman for U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride.
The judge set a follow-up hearing for Tuesday.
Officials said no one was injured when Traille allegedly tossed a brown glass bottle from the top floor into a lunch crowd at the mall on Thursday. The bottle smashed, but it did not explode despite the flame.
Traille then dropped a bag with three more molotov cocktails from the second floor skyway and left the mall, according to court documents.
The mall was evacuated and a nearby road closed. Witnesses described the suspect’s features and his red-and-gray backpack, and Traille was arrested near the Court House metro station Thursday afternoon.
If convicted of the arson charge, Traille faces a minimum of five years and a maximum of 20 years in prison.
Officials don’t know where Traille has been living and have no indication of a motive, Carr said.