ARLINGTON, Va. -- A man threw a molotov cocktail into the Ballston Common Mall's food court on Thursday prompting an evacuation. A "person of interest" was detained a few hours later by Arlington County police after an "eagle-eyed resident" spotted a man matching the suspect's description walking near the Cheesecake Factory in the Clarendon neighborhood.

Arlington County issued a news release saying that the police were notified just after noon about the incident:

The initial investigation revealed that a black male with curly hair and wearing a gray jacket stood on the top level of the mall and dropped the bottle into the Food Court. The 40-ounce bottle was filled with an unknown substance, with a fuse attached. The bottle shattered, but there was no explosion or fire. There were no reported injuries.

Police found three more similarly-filled bottles elsewhere in the mall.

As reported Thursday afternoon, a "person of interest" was detained near the county government complex. A bomb squad was called in to investigate the person's belongings, which were found to contain electronics and other items.

Via Patch:

"We received a call about a man walking in Clarendon who matched the description we had put out," Arlington County Police Lt. Michael Watson said. "He was detained and brought into ACPD to be questioned."

WRC-TV/NBC4 reports that "[p]olice are working to determine the suspect's mental state." The man believed to be involved has not been identified.

As Patch reports, the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force is in charge of the investigation, and is being assisted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Someone eating at the mall food court told Patch that he smelled gasoline as he left the mall during the evacuation.:

Tre Johnson told Patch that he was eating in the food court when he saw someone on a floor above him — perhaps the second or third floor.

"He yelled something and threw something," Johnson told Patch. "I don't know what he said. It sounded like some weird language."

Arlington police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck told The Huffington Post that that the substance in the bottle "appears to be gasoline."

WJLA-TV/ABC7 reports that police don't believe there to be a terrorism connection; reports Dustin Sternbeck saying it’s “too early to tell.”

Twitter user @BrianKal tweeted photos from the scene. has a gallery of photos, as well.

This is a developing story...

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  • Orange Chicken

    It's almost inaccurate to call this chicken, because it's really just a delivery system for sauce. Tiny chunks of poultry (we think?) are heavily breaded and tossed in a thick, gelatinous "orange sauce" to form spicy, sweet morsels that would make Escoffier cry into his canard a l'orange. For orange chicken lovers, it's a miracle: The sauce is so thick that it coats the inside of their mouths and they get to taste that flavor for the rest of the day. Gross. <em>Photo by Flickr user <a href="" target="_hplink">jeffreyw</a>.</em>

  • Bourbon Chicken

    Another crime against fowl. How Cajun food became a mall staple is beyond comprehension, but it's even more curious because the Cajun food is often just dressed-up Chinese food with a different name. The best rule of thumb here is to avoid any chicken handed to you on a toothpick, whether or not there's mention of bourbon. <em>Photo by Flickr user <a href="" target="_hplink">jasonlam</a>.</em>

  • Cheesesteaks

    Take everything you love about steak, throw it out the window and there's your cheesesteak. Instead of the juicy succulence you get from biting into a well-cooked porterhouse, you get thin slices of overcooked beef (from parts unnamed) smashed up with some gooey, flavorless cheese and strewn on a bun that was made two weeks ago. If you're looking for indigestion, congratulations. You've found it. <em>Photo by Flickr user <a href="" target="_hplink">mroach</a>.</em>

  • Corndogs A.K.A. "Hot Dogs on a Stick"

    Are hot dogs not portable enough for you? Do you hate having to eat a frankfurter horizontally? Then the corndog is perfect for you. Also, you have major issues. Seriously, who needs corn dogs? As if the tube of mushmeat on a regular dog wasn't bad enough for you, the corndog amps up the calorie count by wrapping the whole thing in deep-fried cornbread. Have you no shame, Sir? <em>Photo by Flickr user <a href="" target="_hplink">Andreanna Moya Photography</a>.</em>

  • Sbarro

    Sbarro's insipid slices of floppy pizza inspire fear in the hearts of Italians everywhere. Apparently, this company takes pride in the quantity over quality approach. With over a thousand locations around the world, there's a good chance you have access to fake pizza wherever you go. (STAY AWAY.) To make matters worse, some Sbarro locations offer a full buffet for those who like to carbo-load as if they're preparing for a triathlon. Nothing says Mama's cooking like 2,400 calories worth of ziti. <em>Photo by Flickr user <a href="" target="_hplink">The Pizza Review</a>.</em>

  • Sushi

    The biggest problem with mall sushi? You're eating sushi in a mall. Why would you do that to yourself? Sushi is meant to be as absolutely fresh as possible. There's just no way your food court sushi bar is going shopping at the fish market every morning (especially not in Omaha), so save your raw fish cravings for a time that's a little more appropriate -- the next time you're in Okinawa, perhaps. <em> Photo by Flickr user <a href="" target="_hplink">CLF</a>.</em>

  • Pepperoni Pretzel

    America never really went through a pretzel craze. But that didn't stop Auntie Anne's from starting a mall pretzel monopoly. Out of all the flavors the company offers, there's perhaps none grosser than the Pepperoni Pretzel. It's made for people who think Sbarro is too good for them. Also, it looks like your pretzel got the measles. Photo by Flickr user <a href="" target="_hplink">Perfecto Insecto</a>.

  • Cinnabon

    Louis CK has an amazing bit about Cinnabons where he describes them as "a six-foot high cinnamon swirl cake made for one sad fat man." That's pretty accurate. Nobody needs a cinnamon bun of that magnitude, especially not when shopping. The only people who should be eating these things are refugees from war-torn countries who have only consumed soup for the past three months. They need to get their strength back and a hearty Cinnabon can do that in minutes -- less if you add in that cup of "frosting." <em>Photo by Flickr user <a href="" target="_hplink">fujikinoko</a>.</em>

  • Dippin' Dots

    Yet another solution to a non-existent problem. Ice cream is fine as it is. There's no need to put it through Willy Wonka's Wonkavision to shrink it down. If the innovation made ice cream better, it would have some merit, but have you tried Dippin' Dots? They're not better than real ice cream at all! And in the end, it's pretty hard to accept a product that has been engineered to be as fake-tasting as possible. <em>Photo by Flickr user <a href="" target="_hplink">acme</a>.</em>

  • Cookie Cakes

    There is no way to improve upon a <a href="" target="_hplink">chocolate chip cookie</a>. It's perfect just the way it is. Making it bigger and adding frosting just makes it look ridiculous. Cookie cakes are the equivalent of a naturally gorgeous woman getting her make-up done by a drag queen. In the end, you pay attention to the make-up and ignore the simple beauty of what lies underneath. Just keep it natural and everyone goes home happy. Photo by Flickr user <a href="" target="_hplink">quasireversible</a>.