Federal authorities arrested a suspect in Florida on Friday in connection with the string of suspicious packages containing crude explosive devices sent to CNN’s New York headquarters and prominent Democrats, law enforcement sources confirmed to multiple outlets.
“We can confirm one person is in custody. We will hold a press conference at the Department of Justice at 2:30 p.m. ET,” tweeted Sarah Isgur Flores, the director of the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Office of Public Affairs.
The suspect is 56-year-old Cesar Sayoc Jr., according to multiple reports. Sayoc Jr. was known to local police. NBC reported that DNA found on the packaging of the crude explosive devices played a part in identifying him.
Fox News reports that Sayoc “used to live in New York and had prior arrests for terroristic threats.” Sayoc is originally from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. His arrests apparently go back to 1991.
In 2002, according to CNBC citing public records, Sayoc was arrested in 2002 for “allegedly making a threat to throw, place, project or discharge a destructive device.” Other previous arrests were on charges of theft and possession of steroids. He filed for bankruptcy in 2012.
We can confirm one person is in custody. We will hold a press conference at the Department of Justice at 2:30pm ET.
— Sarah Isgur Flores (@whignewtons) October 26, 2018
The suspect was arrested in southern Florida, according to CNN. More details are expected to be revealed during the DOJ press conference Friday afternoon.
Former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, former Vice President Joe Biden, 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, former Attorney General Eric Holder, former CIA Director John Brennan, Reps. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), liberal activist billionaire George Soros, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), actor Robert De Niro and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper were all sent suspicious packages.
The package addressed to Brennan was sent to the Time Warner Center in Manhattan, which prompted CNN’s New York bureau, housed within the building, to be evacuated Tuesday.
President Donald Trump strongly condemned the person or persons responsible, saying during a press conference on Wednesday, “The full weight of our government is being deployed to conduct this investigation and bring those responsible for these despicable acts to justice. We will spare no resources or expense in this effort.”
“We have to unify. We have to come together,” Trump added. “Acts or threats of political violence of any kind have no place in the United States of America.”
But it didn’t take long for CNN reporters and pundits to pin part of the blame for the bomb threats directly on Trump for his harsh political rhetoric.
CNN President Jeff Zucker issued a statement, in fact, in which he condemned Trump’s rhetoric and accused both the president and White House press secretary Sarah Sanders of being careless with their media criticisms.
“There is a total and complete lack of understanding at the White House about the seriousness of their continued attacks on the media,” Zucker said. “The president, and especially the White House press secretary, should understand their words matter. Thus far, they have shown no comprehension of that.”
Trump later admonished CNN and other mainstream outlets for their part in the divisive political climate, tweeting Thursday, “A very big part of the anger we see today in our society is caused by the purposely false and inaccurate reporting of the Mainstream Media that I refer to as Fake News. It has gotten so bad and hateful that it is beyond description. Mainstream Media must clean up its act, FAST!”
A very big part of the Anger we see today in our society is caused by the purposely false and inaccurate reporting of the Mainstream Media that I refer to as Fake News. It has gotten so bad and hateful that it is beyond description. Mainstream Media must clean up its act, FAST!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 25, 2018