WASHINGTON -- Police in the nation's capital, along with the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force, investigated an incident where a stolen SUV is believed to have been intentionally driven into a downtown office building Friday night.
WRC-TV/NBC 4 reported:
Sources told News4's Jackie Bensen that the interior of the SUV as well as the driver had been deliberately doused with gasoline.
The FBI and a bomb squad went to the scene.
The Associated Press reported Saturday that the driver, Charles Morrell Ball, 32, of New Market, Md., was charged with arson, felony destruction of property and felony unauthorized use of a vehicle.
The street-level retail includes a Men's Wearhouse, Victoria's Secret, Verizon Wireless, The Art of Shaving and J.R. Cigars. Morton's Steakhouse occupies a second-floor space fronting Connecticut Avenue. The Arent Fox law firm is one of the building's tenants.
Bensen reported during WRC-TV's 11 p.m. newscast that around 7:45 p.m., an SUV drove in between steel bollards that line the sidewalk outside the Washington Square lobby and ended up inside the building. The driver was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.
WJLA-TV/ABC7 reported Friday night that Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier said that the Joint Terrorism Task Force was asked to investigate the situation "out of abundance of caution" because it appeared that the SUV was driven intentionally into the building.
The Washington Post, which reported that Ball had "mental-health issues" and is listed on Maryland's registry of sex offenders, quoted Lanier on Saturday saying: "I don’t think it was a terrorist act."
One of the Farragut North Metrorail station's entrances at L Street NW was closed, but according to a D.C. Alert sent out around 8:45 p.m., Red Line operations were not impacted. Metro reported that other entrances remained open.
Streets adjacent to the office building were closed but were reopened by midnight.
This post has been updated to reflect new information about the driver and charges he's facing.
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