Charles Morrell Ball, D.C. SUV crash suspect, says he wanted FBI attention
The Maryland man who is accused of intentionally driving an SUV into a downtown D.C. building last Friday night told officers in the immediate aftermath that he was trying to get the attention of the FBI.
In charging documents obtained by WTOP/ABC 7 reporter Mark Segraves, Charles Morrell Ball told responding officers that his family was in danger and that Frederick Police would not do anything about it.
Ball, who has been charged with a multitude of charges including arson and felony destruction of property, is scheduled to appear in court Monday.
Police say Ball, 32, of New Market, is accused of driving an orange Jeep into a building on Connecticut Avenue and L Street on Friday in Northwest, then tried to set it on fire. No one, other than Ball, was hurt, authorities said.
The crash happened in an area of D.C. - very close to one of the entrances to the Farragut North Metro station - that is typically heavily trafficked on the road and on foot. Police say he targeted this specific area because of the large number of people who come in and out of the station.
According to charging documents, responding officers found the Jeep, which had been reported as stolen, with a partially-filled gas canister in the back seat and an odor of gasoline.
After he told officers that he crashed the car into the building on purpose, the documents say Ball took out a lighter and tried to ignite the vehicle. An officer quickly took the lighter away from him. He then tried to flee, but was quickly subdued, police say.
The documents also state that his Ball's girlfriend, whom the Jeep belonged to, received a voice mail from Ball that said that "he was going to make people pay for his actions" and "there will be bloodshed."
Court records show Ball had a troubled past, including arrests for fraud, assault, theft, drug charges and a third degree sex offense.
The crash has left some workers in the area on edge about the randomness of the crime.
"Just (to) know that this close to work, things can happen," D.C. office worker Daryl Johnson said. "That can be frightening.'
His neighbors in New Market say Ball and his girlfriend had a rocky relationship. She apparently filed a restraining order against him just hour before the crash.
"I couldn't believe that. I thought, why would he do that? For what reason? That sounds like a terrorist act to me," said neighbor Bill Riley.
"And I hope he does go away for a long time because he's definitely disturbed,” Riley added. “And I hope he never comes back to this neighborhood again."
Ball crashed in a building, located less than a mile from the White House in the city's business district. It has a mix of offices, retail shops and restaurants.
Police say the SUV used in the collision had been reported stolen earlier Friday.
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