Feds Charge Florida Lawyer With Attempt to Bomb Chinese Embassy’s Outer Wall

Ryan Morgan
By Ryan Morgan
November 10, 2023China News
Feds Charge Florida Lawyer With Attempt to Bomb Chinese Embassy’s Outer Wall
The Chinese Embassy in Washington on May 18, 2012. (Robert Macpherson/AFP via Getty Images)

The Department of Justice has arrested and charged a Florida man with attempting to bomb the Chinese Embassy in Washington in September.

The DOJ accuses Christopher Rodriguez, a licensed Florida Attorney, of traveling up to Washington and placing a bag full of explosives against the back wall and outer fence of the Chinese Embassy at some point before 3 a.m. on Sept. 25. The suspected bomb consisted of about 15 pounds of binary explosives, which can be set off by shooting at them with a firearm. Authorities believe Mr. Rodriguez placed the backpack about 12 feet from the outer wall of the embassy and that he attempted to set off the explosive device with a few gunshots.

Members of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) arrested Mr. Rodriguez as he was driving from his home in Panama City, Florida, heading west into Louisiana on Saturday, Nov. 4. Mr. Rodriguez now faces charges in the Washington D.C. federal district court for damaging property occupied by a foreign government, possession of explosive materials during the commission of a federal felony, malicious use of explosive materials, and possession of an unregistered firearm.

The alleged efforts to set off the explosives were unsuccessful and law enforcement eventually recovered the suspicious backpack. Upon searching the suspicious black Ozark Trails bag, investigators found an Expert Grill brand charcoal briquet bag containing two plastic containers with the suspected binary explosive. The backpack was also recovered with a strip of reflective tape that investigators believe was used as an aiming point to assist “one or more subjects” as they fired at the target in the early morning hours.

Near the Chinese embassy, investigators also found firearm shell casings at a nearby gravel pile, impact marks on the outer wall of the embassy complex, and bullet fragments.

The ATF led the investigation to identify the suspect of this alleged bombing attempt. According to an affidavit sworn by ATF Special Agent Denise Katolin Arrans, investigators obtained traffic camera images showing a 2016 Jeep Patriot registered to Mr. Rodriguez passing through Gwinett County, Georgia, on the evening of Sept. 23, and passing through Statesville, North Carolina, the following morning on Sept. 24.

Investigators also obtained purchase records for Ozark Trail brand black backpack, and automotive reflective tape purchased at a store in Harrisonburg, Virginia at around 11 a.m. on Sept. 24, around the same time Mr. Rodriguez’s vehicle was allegedly spotted in the area. Surveillance footage captured inside the store during this purchase showed an individual wearing a light-colored hat, jeans, and tan boots. At around 2:38 a.m. on the morning of Sept. 25, a suspect whom investigators believe is Mr. Rodriguez was seen on surveillance footage wearing a light-colored hat, jeans, and tan boots and carrying what investigators believe was a rifle bag across his shoulder.

Along with the surveillance footage of Mr. Rodriguez’s car traveling north through Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia in the two days prior to the alleged bombing attempt, investigators were able to obtain a DNA sample from the backpack found near the Chinese embassy that provided a “moderate stringency match” to a DNA sample a California Department of Justice Arrestee specimen obtained from Mr. Rodriguez during a 2021 arrest.

The affidavit for Mr. Rodriguez’s arrest did not offer a possible motive for why he would try to detonate a bomb against the outer fence of the Chinese Embassy.

Mr. Rodriguez was originally arrested in Lafayette, Louisiana, and he is currently detained in that jurisdiction. He is scheduled for a detention hearing on Tuesday, Nov. 14.

NTD News reached out to an attorney representing Mr. Rodriguez in Louisiana but did not receive a response by the time this article was published.