An Oceanside man who had machete and a bayonet in his vehicle near the Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington, D.C. was arrested early Monday, officials said.
The incident occurred just after midnight when a U.S. Capitol police officer was patrolling in the area and spotted a Dodge Dakota pickup with a “swastika and other white supremacist symbols painted on it,” according to a news release.
The truck did not have a license plate, but instead had a picture of an American flag where the plate should have been.
The officer then pulled over the truck along the 500 block of South Capitol Street, SW.
That’s when the officer noticed a bayonet and machete, which are illegal in D.C., inside the truck, police said.
Photos released by Capitol police showed the front of the truck’s grill was adorned with antlers and “confederate” was written inside.
The driver, 44-year-old Donald Craighead, was subsequently arrested on suspicion of possessing prohibited weapons.
“Craighead said he was ‘on patrol’ and began talking about white supremacist ideology and other rhetoric pertaining to white supremacy,” the news release stated.
Officials indicated that it was unclear whether Craighead was planning to attend any demonstrations, or if he has ties to any previous protests in the area. However, the arrest came days before a planned rally at the Capitol scheduled for Saturday.
The anticipated crowd size and the intensity of the Saturday rally are unclear, but law enforcement appears to be taking no chances. Security fencing has been requested around the Capitol and reinforcements are being summoned to back up the Capitol Police, whose leadership was criticized and summarily dismissed for its handling of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol. Congressional leaders were being briefed on the preparations Monday morning.
While authorities have been bracing for a repeat appearance by right-wing extremist groups and other Trump loyalists who mobbed the Capitol, it’s unclear if those actors will participate in the new event. The extremist groups are concerning because, while members of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers made up a small portion of the Jan. 6 rioters, they are accused of some of the more serious crimes in the attack.
Whether those groups participate or not, the rally could bring lone actors to Washington.
No other details were released about Monday’s incident and the matter remains under investigation, police said.