- Associated Press
Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Marine reservist who was detained during a security scare near the Pentagon last week has been linked to the shootings last year at the Marine Corps museum in Quantico and several D.C.-area military recruitment stations, officials said Wednesday.

Yonathan Melaku, 22, of Alexandria, is being held on unrelated larceny charges. The two officials spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing. One of the officials said that ballistics evidence appears to link Mr. Melaku to the shootings.

Mr. Melaku was detained Friday after he was spotted carrying a suspicious backpack near the Pentagon containing what initially was feared to be bomb-making material. Authorities later said the suspicious items were not explosive.

Mr. Melaku also had a notebook that contained the words “Al-Qaida” and “Taliban Rules” written inside. The context of the words was not immediately clear.

The shootings last year did not injure anyone. The Marine Corps museum was targeted twice. Two windows were shot out at the Pentagon, and a Marine Corps recruiting station in Chantilly, Va., outside Washington was also targeted.

At the time, FBI officials suspected that the shooter had some sort of gripe against the Marine Corps. Authorities said the shootings were done with the same gun.

Peter Carr, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney in the eastern District of Virginia, declined comment except to say that Mr. Melaku remains under investigation following last week’s incident. An FBI spokesman also declined comment Wednesday.

Mr. Melaku has a status hearing Thursday in Loudoun County, Va., on the unrelated larceny charges. He has not been charged in the incident last week or the shootings.

• Matthew Barakat reported from McLean, Va.

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