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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.

Cases: 501652

Reported Deaths: 10024
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34353540
DeSoto32162408
Hinds31977631
Jackson24508383
Rankin22015390
Lee15596235
Madison14597280
Jones13867243
Forrest13461252
Lauderdale11998317
Lowndes11065188
Lamar10522136
Pearl River9547237
Lafayette8557140
Hancock7740127
Washington7443160
Oktibbeha7147133
Monroe6787178
Warren6706176
Pontotoc6677104
Neshoba6642206
Panola6542131
Marshall6476135
Bolivar6323150
Union605794
Pike5824152
Alcorn5676102
Lincoln5439135
George497479
Scott473098
Tippah470381
Prentiss469182
Leflore4663144
Itawamba4640105
Adams4592119
Tate4592111
Copiah448792
Simpson4448116
Yazoo444887
Wayne440072
Covington429094
Sunflower4240105
Marion4232108
Coahoma4168107
Leake408688
Newton381779
Grenada3711108
Stone360664
Tishomingo360092
Attala331789
Jasper330165
Winston314691
Clay308977
Chickasaw301067
Clarke292594
Calhoun279447
Holmes267987
Smith264150
Yalobusha234547
Tallahatchie228251
Greene219449
Walthall218764
Lawrence213140
Perry205956
Amite205256
Webster203046
Noxubee186840
Montgomery179657
Jefferson Davis172243
Carroll169338
Tunica160039
Benton149239
Kemper141941
Choctaw133326
Claiborne132837
Humphreys129638
Franklin120328
Quitman106528
Wilkinson105139
Jefferson94734
Sharkey64220
Issaquena1937
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 820312

Reported Deaths: 15407
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1148731924
Mobile726221339
Madison52362697
Shelby37640350
Baldwin37266552
Tuscaloosa35120612
Montgomery34123740
Lee23540246
Calhoun22236488
Morgan20958378
Etowah19838500
Marshall18381304
Houston17394412
St. Clair16078339
Cullman15468293
Limestone15354199
Elmore15271286
Lauderdale14323295
Talladega13851283
DeKalb12664261
Walker11221370
Blount10207176
Autauga10048148
Jackson9877184
Coffee9211191
Dale8904185
Colbert8877201
Tallapoosa7093198
Escambia6778134
Covington6715183
Chilton6648162
Russell637559
Franklin5969105
Chambers5612142
Marion5010127
Dallas4979200
Pike4796106
Clarke475884
Geneva4575127
Winston4522103
Lawrence4327117
Bibb425386
Barbour357876
Marengo338390
Monroe331664
Randolph329864
Butler326796
Pickens316584
Henry312866
Hale311688
Cherokee302960
Fayette294180
Washington251651
Cleburne247760
Crenshaw245375
Clay243368
Macon234863
Lamar224847
Conecuh186353
Coosa180340
Lowndes175464
Wilcox168939
Bullock151744
Perry138940
Sumter133238
Greene126744
Choctaw88527
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