WASHINGTON – Authorities revealed Tuesday that a man carrying a loaded shotgun was arrested in January near the U.S. Capitol, and explosives left in his truck nearby went undetected for three weeks.
According to an indictment filed in District of Columbia Superior Court, Michael Gorbey, 38, of Rapidan, Va., faces charges of planning to set off a bomb. He also is accused of making or transporting an explosive device with the intent of using it against people or property and multiple firearms charges.
Gorbey allegedly tried to manufacture a "weapon of mass destruction, that is, an explosive device capable of causing multiple deaths or serious bodily injuries to multiple persons, or massive destruction of property," according to the indictment.
He was arrested Jan. 18 for carrying the shotgun and a sword outside the Capitol. Gorbey told police he was headed to an appointment at the Supreme Court. No one was injured in the incident, which caused gridlock for hours on Capitol Hill.
U.S. Capitol Police discovered the explosive device three weeks later when they returned with a search warrant to check the truck, which was in a government parking lot.
Terrance Gainer, the Senate sergeant-at-arms, told The Washington Post the device in Gorbey's truck, which was parked about two blocks from the Capitol, "could have caused serious injuries," if detonated.
Police initially searched Gorbey's truck in January and said there were propane tanks and wires but no immediate danger. They used a robotic camera to look inside the vehicle and a powerful water hose to destroy suspicious items inside.
Now U.S. Capitol Police are investigating how their bomb squad missed the bomb.
The device was made of a can of gunpowder taped to a box of shotgun shells and a bottle with buckshot or BB pellets, according to court documents.
Gorbey has been jailed since his arrest. He has pleaded not guilty and has said he plans to defend himself at his trial, which is set to begin April 21.
Court records show Gorbey is a convicted felon and has been in and out of prison since 1991 for convictions on larceny, domestic violence and illegal gun and drug charges.