Trump: I think I've been toned down

President Trump talks to reporters after the mail bomb suspect was arrested, saying he believes he has toned down his rhetoric since suspicious packages were sent to several top political figures, Trump critics and CNN.

Posted: Oct 28, 2018 10:37 AM
Updated: Oct 28, 2018 11:02 AM

DNA, fingerprints and pings from a cell phone tower led authorities to an auto parts store parking lot in south Florida where they arrested a 56-year-old man Friday morning. The arrest brought an end to a four-day nationwide manhunt for the alleged mailer of over a dozen suspected pipe bombs to prominent critics of President Donald Trump.

A key break in the case for investigators came Thursday, according to a criminal complaint and multiple law enforcement officials, when they traced five packages to the Opa-Locka processing and distribution center outside of Miami.

That break allowed authorities to narrow their search, which -- combined with DNA and fingerprint samples left on a package sent to Rep. Maxine Waters and cell phone geolocation information -- led to Cesar Sayoc, even as new devices were being found in New York and California.

FBI agents arrested Sayoc at an AutoZone parking lot in Plantation, Florida, about six miles west of Fort Lauderdale, Friday morning as he was nearing his white van, which has been covered with images political in nature, including images of notable liberals such as Hillary Clinton and former President Barack Obama.

A "CNN Sucks" sticker was also on the van. Two of the packages with explosive devices were addressed to the CNN New York bureau.

Other targets include former Vice President Joe Biden, and critics of Donald Trump including Waters, actor-director Robert De Niro, and Sens. Cory Booker and Kamala Harris. A suspicious package similar to the others this week was also found Friday in the San Francisco Bay area addressed to Democratic billionaire donor Tom Steyer.

Friday's arrest was the culmination of a multi-agency federal, state and local law enforcement and civilian effort that began Monday when the first suspected pipe bomb sent to George Soros, a billionaire philanthropist who has supported Democrats, was intercepted.

Three new suspected bombs were detected Friday morning in Florida, New York and California as agents in South Florida were preparing to apprehend Sayoc at the parking lot. The packages were nearly identical -- six inch PVC pipes with wires, stuffed inside a bubble-wrap lined manila envelope, according to the complaint. Six American flag stamps were affixed to each envelope with the return address of Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz's office.

"These are not hoax devices," FBI Director Christopher Wray said at a news conference Friday.

Sayoc was charged with five criminal counts related to 13 explosive devices, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Friday. He faces up to 48 years in prison if convicted.

The investigation, led by the FBI with the involvement of the Joint Terrorism Task Force of the NYPD, the US Postal Inspectors and other federal agencies and local law enforcement, depended heavily on the quick work of private security and US Postal Workers who detected bombs as they arrived at office buildings and post offices.

Authorities were also aided by mistakes made by the alleged bomber who left traces of evidence investigators scrambled to understand.

As explosive devices were sent to the FBI forensics lab in Quantico, investigators there detected DNA and a fingerprint found on the device intended for Waters and, working with local law enforcement, matched it late Thursday night to a sample of Sayoc's DNA that had been previously collected, Wray said.

Traces of DNA collected from two other of the bombs appeared related to Sayoc, according to the complaint filed in federal court Friday.

With his possible identity known, investigators checked his cell phone number against cell phone towers in the vicinity to see if they matched the location and timing for when the packages originated, according to a law enforcement official.

By Thursday night, agents and law enforcement officers, confident they had found the alleged bomber, were combing through social media posts of Sayoc and began surveilling him either Thursday night or Friday morning, the law enforcement official said.

Clues appeared to confirm their suspicions. Sayoc misspelled words on posts that matched some of those on the packages. Some posts said, "Hilary" instead of "Hillary" Clinton, while another said "Shultz" instead of Schultz for Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Investigators first went to the home of Sayoc's mother in Aventura, but were told he wasn't there, according to a law enforcement official. As of Friday afternoon, authorities were searching his mother's residential complex.

Meanwhile, they detected a ping identifying Sayoc's cell phone. In the AutoZone parking lot, agents found the white van, where he appeared to be living.

Sayoc was initially somewhat cooperative, one official said. He told investigators that the pipe bombs wouldn't have hurt anyone and that he didn't want to hurt anyone. But he has since retained a lawyer so questioning has ceased. He is scheduled to appear in federal court on Monday in Florida.

Although Sayoc is in custody, FBI director Wray cautioned that there could be more potential explosive devices sent that have yet to be detected.

"Today's arrest does not mean we are all out of the woods," Wray told reporters. "There may be more packages in transit now."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 97638

Reported Deaths: 2957
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7151160
DeSoto565061
Harrison388874
Jackson352770
Madison331489
Rankin331179
Lee276470
Forrest250976
Jones250479
Washington225977
Lafayette219840
Lauderdale2065125
Bolivar184966
Oktibbeha180252
Lamar172836
Lowndes158158
Neshoba1581104
Panola151031
Sunflower148046
Leflore141781
Warren140950
Pontotoc128216
Pike124251
Monroe123969
Copiah119333
Scott117627
Coahoma116329
Marshall111517
Lincoln111453
Holmes110059
Grenada109536
Yazoo106230
Simpson104846
Tate101138
Union99924
Leake96238
Adams94337
Wayne90821
Pearl River89653
Marion86935
Prentiss86517
Itawamba83521
Alcorn82711
Covington82723
George78313
Tallahatchie77621
Newton77324
Winston74219
Tishomingo69438
Chickasaw68524
Tippah67317
Attala67125
Clarke60346
Walthall60226
Clay59818
Hancock59022
Jasper57815
Noxubee55516
Smith53815
Calhoun52412
Tunica49915
Claiborne46516
Montgomery46520
Yalobusha43714
Lawrence43313
Perry42419
Greene38617
Quitman3805
Humphreys37815
Stone37612
Jefferson Davis34211
Webster33813
Amite33510
Carroll32112
Wilkinson30518
Kemper29015
Sharkey26613
Jefferson2439
Benton2293
Franklin1933
Choctaw1866
Issaquena1053
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 136549

Reported Deaths: 2378
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson19833350
Mobile13471292
Montgomery8865184
Tuscaloosa8744118
Madison797878
Shelby604349
Lee594560
Baldwin558850
Marshall396743
Calhoun354844
Etowah354045
Morgan332728
Houston293521
Elmore269148
DeKalb243521
St. Clair234036
Walker233084
Talladega217729
Limestone213520
Cullman191120
Dallas179326
Franklin179029
Autauga178525
Russell17653
Lauderdale174033
Colbert167526
Blount161815
Escambia161424
Chilton159330
Jackson158911
Covington140327
Dale139944
Coffee13656
Pike120510
Chambers117242
Tallapoosa116685
Clarke110416
Marion97129
Butler91439
Barbour8867
Winston74512
Marengo72620
Pickens66814
Randolph66013
Bibb65710
Lowndes65727
Hale64928
Geneva6384
Lawrence62823
Cherokee61413
Bullock60714
Clay5928
Monroe5908
Washington56113
Crenshaw54232
Perry5426
Conecuh53711
Wilcox53211
Henry5085
Macon48318
Fayette4678
Sumter43819
Cleburne3895
Lamar3772
Choctaw35112
Greene30315
Coosa1723
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