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Falkville man arrested with Molotov cocktails in mason jars near Capitol

Coffman had guns on himself, and more guns and eleven Molotov cocktails in his truck when he was arrested near the Capitol.

Supporters of President Donald Trump rally at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP PHOTO/JOSE LUIS MAGANA)

Court records unsealed Friday detail the arrest of an Alabama man who brought multiple weapons and homemade Molotov cocktails in eleven“mason jars” to Washington D.C. on Wednesday, the day of the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol that left five dead, including a Capitol Police officer. 

Lonnie L. Coffman, 70, of Falkville, was arrested by Capitol Police just after 6:30 p.m. while Coffman was trying to return to his pickup truck, which was parked approximately one block from the Capitol, according to the court records

While securing a perimeter around the blocks in the area of the National Republican Club and the Democratic National Committee Headquarters, where police found two pipe bombs, police saw the handle of a firearm in the seat of a red GMC Sierra 1500 pickup truck with Alabama license plates, according to an affidavit signed by Lawrence Anyaso, special agent with the U.S. Capitol Police. 

Police found the handgun in the truck, and in the bed of the truck, covered by a cloth covering, found a “M4 Carbine assault rifle along with rifle magazines loaded with ammunition” and “eleven mason jars containing an unknown liquid with a golf tee in the top of each jar” with cloth rags and lighters nearby. Police determined the liquid was gasoline and the devices were explosive devices known as “Molotov cocktails.” 

At approximately 6:30 a car driven by a woman approached officers and a male passenger told police he was trying to get to his red GMC truck, according to the records. He was identified as Coffman and asked officers whether they “had located the bombs.” Officers later determined Coffman was referring to the two pipe bombs and not the devices in his truck.  

Officers asked Coffman if he had any weapons, and Coffman responded that he had a gun in his right front pants pocket. Police found the 9mm Smith & Wesson handgun in that pocket and a “22 caliber derringer style handgun from his front left pocket.” None of the guns were registered to Coffman, according to the records. 

Coffman told police the mason jars contained “melted Styrofoam and gasoline,” which a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives officer said has the effect of napalm, helping the flammable liquid to stick to objects it hits. 

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A review of security footage shows Coffman arriving in the place where he parked at around 9:15 a.m. and around five minutes later one person exited the truck, according to the records. Coffman was arrested Wednesday and charged with carrying a pistol without a license and a charge of having an unregistered firearm (destructive device).

Coffman was in the D.C. Department of Corrections Central Detention Facility Friday afternoon, according to a facility employee who answered the phone.  Coffman has no social media presence, and no criminal record, according to searches of state and federal court records.  

Coffman’s ex-wife told WAAY 31 that she didn’t have anything to say about his arrest, but said,  “Yes, he voted for Trump.”

Wednesday’s riots and insurrection resulted in one woman’s death after she was shot by police while entering the Capitol, and the deaths of three others due to “medical emergencies” during the riot, including one Alabama man, Kevin Greeson, 55, of Athens.

Washington, D.C. police Chief Robert Contee said during a press conference Thursday that all three were found on the grounds of the Capitol during the chaos when they experienced their medical emergencies, according to the Associated Press

U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick died at approximately 9:30 p.m. on Thursday after being injured by rioters during the Capitol siege Wednesday, Capitol Police said.

The FBI is seeking information that will assist in identifying individuals who are actively instigating violence in Washington D.C. The FBI is accepting tips and digital media depicting rioting and violence in the U.S. Capitol Building and the surrounding area in Washington D.C. on Jan. 6, 2021.

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“If you have witnessed unlawful violent actions, we urge you to submit any information, photos, or videos that could be relevant at fbi.gov/USCapitol,” the FBI said in a statement.

Use this form to submit any images, videos, or other multimedia files you have related to possible violations of federal law committed, according to the bureau.

“Our goal is to preserve the public’s constitutional right to protest by protecting everyone from violence and other criminal activity,” the FBI statement read.

You may also call ‪1-800-CALL-FBI (1-‪800-225-5324) to verbally report tips and/or information related to this investigation. If you do not have an attachment but have information to provide, submit it at tips.fbi.gov.

Eddie Burkhalter
Written By

Eddie Burkhalter is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or reach him via Twitter.

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