WASHINGTON (AP) — A Pennsylvania doctor with an assault-style rifle and a handgun told an acquaintance that he was driving to see the president and that he had survival supplies, multiple cellphones and enough ammunition to make his car resemble Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh “on a camping trip,” according to charging documents filed Thursday.
Bryan Moles, 43, was arrested at Trump International Hotel in downtown Washington on Wednesday and faces charges of unlawful possession and transportation of a firearm. He was not licensed to carry a gun in the District of Columbia, which has strict gun laws, authorities said.
A District of Columbia Superior Court judge on Thursday released Moles on the condition that he stays away from the Trump Hotel and the White House. Moles is due in federal court Friday afternoon for another hearing. Moles also agreed to temporarily give up access to weapons at his home in Pennsylvania. Moles declined to answer most questions from reporters as he was leaving court, but when asked what he wanted to tell his family he said that he loved them.
The documents describe Moles as a recovering alcoholic and marijuana addict suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. He served in the Navy from 1992 to 2006.
Before driving to the nation’s capital, Moles left voicemails for an acquaintance calling himself “a refugee intent on bringing down big pharmacy and big business medicine,” the documents said. He also made mention of Olympic Park Bomber Eric Rudolph, who was convicted of perpetrating multiple acts of domestic terrorism.
Authorities said a tipster contacted them about the messages and they arrested Moles. D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham said in doing so, they averted a potential tragedy, though the Secret Service said agents interviewed Moles and determined he did not pose a threat. Officials described Moles as cooperative with the investigation.
In Moles’ hotel room, investigators found a safe with $10,000 inside, and he told authorities that he’d emptied his bank account “in order to live the life he always wanted before it was too late,” according to the charging documents. He left $4.19 in his account, corresponding to the date of McVeigh’s bombing of a federal building on April 19, 1995. The blast killed 168 people. Moles told investigators he once wrote a term paper on McVeigh.
Shortly after Moles checked in to the Trump hotel, authorities located Moles’ car, unlocked it and found an assault-style rifle and several magazines with ammunition, as well as rifle accessories and a semi-automatic pistol with six rounds of ammunition in it.
Moles’ Facebook page is sprinkled with comments and photos indicating support for Trump. Last week, he posted a question: “If you had to choose between a Hilton Hotel and a Trump hotel, which would you choose and why?” Someone replied, “Trump all the way. The dark side wants to disarm the public so they can … just walk through any resistance to their fascist thought police.” Moles liked the comment.
A longtime friend of Moles said “there is absolutely no way” he was planning violence. Lisa DellaRatta, a nurse practitioner in Florida, said she’s known him for more than 25 years and used to live with him. She said Moles “cannot be a more standup man.”
She said guns are prevalent in the rural area near Lake Erie where she and Moles grew up, and he’s always owned them.
Pennsylvania records show Moles renewed his license to practice medicine in October 2016. A spokeswoman at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center system said he had been placed on administrative leave there some time before Wednesday’s arrest.
His hometown of Edinboro is about 350 miles from Washington.