Man accused of planning to attack Cleveland on July 4

Authorities say he intended to bomb Philadelphia as well.

Kristen Johanson
July 02, 2018 - 12:42 pm
Demetrius Pitts

Courtesy of North Olmsted Police Department

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Federal authorities have announced charges against a former Philadelphia man who they say wanted to blow up the city of Cleveland on the Fourth of July — and was planning to also target the City of Brotherly Love.  

Authorities in Ohio say 48-year-old Demetrius Pitts was planning to attack Cleveland during an Independence Day parade and fireworks show. He allegedly had looked for locations where he would park a van packed with explosives.  

Justin Herdman, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, says he also wanted to pack toy cars with explosives and shrapnel, and give them to kids of military service men and service women.

"When asked about the carnage this would cause, Pitts said, 'I don't care, and I have no regrets,'" Herdman said.

They say Pitts was aligning himself with al Qaeda. They say investigators got a tip from the public in 2017, and began an investigation. 

An undercover agent says Pitts also discussed striking Philadelphia, using a truck bomb similar to the one used in Oklahoma City. 

"He also wanted to strike at the very core values of our nation," Herdman said.

Pitts was arrested over the weekend in Ohio. He is charged with attempting to provide material support to terrorists. If convicted, he could face 20 years in prison.