Former Virginia Marine who shot at Pentagon, other military buildings gets 25 years

Posted at 6:49 PM, Jan 11, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-11 18:49:40-05
WASHINGTON (CNN) — The former Marine reservist who pleaded guilty to five shootings of military installations in Virginia in 2010 was sentenced to 25 years in prison Friday.

Yonathan Melaku, 24, of Alexandria shot at the Pentagon, the Marine Corps museum (twice), a Marine Corps recruiting center in Chantilly, and a Coast Guard recruiting office in Woodbridge, prosecutors said.

He “is a self-radicalized terrorist who carried out a campaign of fear that escalated until his arrest,” said U.S. Attorney Neil MacBride in Alexandria. “This sentence is just punishment for the danger he poses to our community.”

Melaku was arrested in Arlington National Ceremony in June 2011, where he told authorities he intended to desecrate the graves of U.S. soldiers and Marines. He said he was strongly opposed to U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He pleaded guilty in late January 2012 to charges of damaging government property and firearms violations. Authorities estimated the cost for repairs at the facilities exceeded $100,000.

Nobody was injured by the nighttime shootings.