WASHINGTON (AP) — A man whose bomb threat near the U.S. Capitol forced evacuations and sparked an hourslong standoff with police in 2021 was sentenced to five years of probation Friday.
Floyd Ray Roseberry was experiencing a mental-health crisis at the time of the threat, and during the year that he served in jail after his arrest he stopped a violent assault on a guard, U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras said.
“I’m very optimistic that this was the worst day of your life and nothing like this will ever happen again,” Contreras said.
In August 2021, Roseberry, of Grover, North Carolina, drove a black pickup truck onto a sidewalk near the Library of Congress and began shouting to people in the street that he had a bomb, authorities said.
It came as Washington was still on edge months after the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and his threat forced many of the same workers to again flee from their offices.
Roseberry, 52, professed a litany of antigovernment grievances and demanded that President Joe Biden step down as part of a bizarre episode he livestreamed for a Facebook audience, authorities said.
He surrendered after about four hours. Police said they did not find a bomb but did collect possible bomb-making materials.
Defense attorney Mary Petras said Roseberry briefly “glommed onto” political events in the news, but was primarily affected by his mental-health crisis. With few treatment options in his hometown, he had been put on improper medication that likely contributed to his episode, she said. Prosecutors did not dispute that finding.
He got court-ordered treatment for his bipolar disorder after his arrest that was found to be effective before he was declared mentally competent to proceed with the case.
“I’ve watched all the videos and I take full responsibility for what happened,” Roseberry said. “If I had been on the correct medication it would not have happened.”
After his arrest, Roseberry was held in jail in Washington for about a year, and at one point he stepped in to help a guard who had been attacked from behind and beaten, Contreras said. Roseberry grabbed the man and stopped the attack as he was about to hit the guard again, though his actions later made him a target for fellow inmates, he said.
Contreras cited Roseberry’s “selfless act” as he handed down the sentence.
Prosecutor Christopher Tortorice had argued for a 2 1/2-year prison sentence, saying it would send a message that “this is unacceptable.” The defense had asked for the year in jail he already served as well as three years of probation.