A man was arrested on suspicion of leaving Molotov cocktails at a Los Angeles Metro station in East Hollywood after calling 911 and the FBI, officials announced Wednesday.
The incident began on July 29, when a man called the FBI saying that he was being “stalked by multiple street gangs” and that he had access to “pipe bombs” that he was planning to use to protect himself and his family, Los Angeles Police Department Commander David Kowalski said at a news conference.
The FBI and LAPD started investigating the call as a potential threat.
The next day, Metro security found a grocery bag that smelled like gasoline on the red line platform at Vermont Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard.
Inside the bag, they found three glass bottles resembling Molotov cocktails.
Police and firefighters responded to the scene, finding that the bottles were viable, destructive devices and “capable of causing harm to our community and our rail lines,” the commander said.
Authorities were still investigating the homemade incendiary devices when they found out that an anonymous caller had contacted 911 earlier in the evening, saying he saw someone place a brown paper bag containing bombs on the platform.
Investigators determined that the caller was the same man who had contacted the FBI, Kowalski said
He was identified as Frederick Brown, a parolee with a long criminal history who was wanted for a parole violation, according to LAPD.
On Monday, police found Brown in the area of Seventh and Alvarado streets in Central L.A., where he was found to be in possession of two replica handguns, according to LAPD.
Brown was arrested and booked on suspicion of being in possession of a destructive device, a Molotov cocktail.
The man later admitted to placing the bottles along the train platform, according to Kowalski. Police said surveillance footage from the metro station also showed him placing the bag on the platform.
“The FBI and the LAPD did not identify any nexus to domestic terrorism, and Brown’s claims that he was being targeted by multiple street gangs could not be substantiated,” the police commander said.
Police said the Metro station where the devices were left is a vulnerable location, where a blast could have impacted rail lines and many people who move through the area daily.
“What was inside those bottles was clearly enough to emit some type of explosion in that area, especially with three different devices containing gasoline,” Kowalski said.
Police said the contents of the glass bottles are still being examined.
“The case is ongoing, but we haven’t identified any motive as far as an ideology for domestic terrorism,” Kowalski said.
L.A. Metro in a statement called the incident a “grave threat” and said it serves as a reminder of the importance of reporting suspicious activity.
“We thank and congratulate LAPD for working closely with Metro personnel and contract security to foil this grave threat as well as to quickly investigate and apprehend a suspect,” an agency spokesman said.