Federal agents arrested an armed security guard who worked inside the Ronald Reagan Building in northwest Washington, D.C., for allegedly making threats.
The guard threatened to shoot a manager and was arrested while wearing a bulletproof vest outside the manager’s office building, according to an affidavit from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Prosecutors formally charged Romeo Twalla with making threatening communications. Twalla, who worked for a security contractor, is accused of posting the threats on Facebook. Twalla threatened to shoot a manager and posted, “Prepare because those buildings in DC coming down!” according to the charging documents filed by prosecutors.
“An ordinary, reasonable recipient who is familiar with the context in which the statements were made would interpret as serious expressions of intent to injure the person of another,” the charging documents said.
The Ronald Reagan Building is a landmark Washington, D.C., facility, housing government agencies and private companies. U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Commerce Department and the U.S. General Services Administration have offices inside the complex.
According to the affidavit from U.S. Homeland Security investigators, the victim in the case had questioned Twalla for unexcused absences from work.
Twalla was spotted near the victim’s workplace after a restraining order was issued against him, investigators said in their affidavit. “On May 10, 2017, inspectors from the (Federal Protective Service) were dispatched to the area of 12th Street NW Washington for a report of Twalla in the area wearing a bulletproof vest,” the affidavit said.
According to the affidavit, “Inspectors made contact with Twalla. He stated he was going to a museum, and when he was asked about the wearing of the bulletproof vest by (investigators), Twalla stated, ‘I’m trying to lose weight.’”
Twalla was scheduled for arraignment Wednesday.
"If Mr. Twalla is convicted, it would be akin to a conviction for threats posted by your grandmother with dementia," the defendant's attorney said in a statement to News4. "Mr. Twalla had been hospitalized several times and diagnosed with crucial vitamin B12 deficiency. Effect of such deficiency is comparable to dementia. Fortunately, Mr. Twalla’s dementia is, and has been, remedied with medication."His defense attorney told News4 Twalla had no comment on the case. Court records do not indicate if Twalla entered a formal plea to the charge but show his attorney requested a trial by jury. The trial is scheduled for August.
Managers of the Reagan Building did not immediately return a request for comment on Twalla’s employment status.