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: 331863

Reported Deaths: 7494
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22855279
Hinds22625437
Harrison19462326
Rankin14765286
Jackson14233251
Madison10658227
Lee10398178
Jones8713169
Forrest8164157
Lauderdale7528243
Lowndes6761150
Lamar665988
Lafayette6446124
Washington5497139
Bolivar4907134
Pearl River4889149
Oktibbeha476898
Panola4719112
Marshall4648106
Warren4612125
Pontotoc438873
Monroe4243137
Union424379
Neshoba4179180
Lincoln4088115
Hancock402788
Leflore3562125
Pike3511111
Tate348988
Alcorn343174
Sunflower342293
Adams331987
Yazoo330573
Scott330175
Simpson313690
Copiah311467
Itawamba309580
Coahoma308285
Tippah298368
Prentiss292563
Covington280183
Marion278980
Leake277975
Wayne269942
Grenada265688
George259851
Newton256064
Tishomingo235769
Winston235084
Jasper225748
Attala220373
Chickasaw215960
Stone209137
Holmes194974
Clay191554
Tallahatchie181542
Clarke181480
Calhoun177332
Smith175334
Yalobusha169240
Walthall140448
Lawrence137026
Greene134934
Amite131843
Noxubee131135
Perry130838
Montgomery130644
Carroll124531
Webster116732
Jefferson Davis112934
Tunica110827
Benton104425
Claiborne104231
Kemper100329
Humphreys99033
Franklin85923
Quitman83519
Choctaw80919
Wilkinson73232
Jefferson69028
Sharkey51518
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 565510

Reported Deaths: 11468
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson828061584
Mobile44938853
Madison36534532
Tuscaloosa26589465
Shelby26409255
Montgomery25598623
Baldwin23319324
Lee16691179
Calhoun15030332
Morgan14877288
Etowah14563368
Marshall12723235
Houston11302292
Elmore10576217
St. Clair10449251
Limestone10420158
Cullman10198204
Lauderdale9883253
DeKalb9226191
Talladega8705187
Walker7545286
Autauga7388113
Jackson7216117
Blount7147139
Colbert6522142
Coffee5962131
Dale5224117
Russell463942
Chilton4603117
Covington4502125
Franklin439781
Tallapoosa4343156
Escambia414782
Chambers3813124
Dallas3674163
Clarke361562
Marion3354106
Pike323179
Lawrence3176101
Winston289672
Bibb276165
Geneva267383
Marengo257367
Barbour241860
Pickens238862
Butler233571
Hale230578
Fayette223863
Henry203345
Cherokee192347
Randolph192244
Monroe190241
Washington174539
Macon167252
Crenshaw163457
Clay161859
Cleburne158445
Lamar149138
Lowndes143854
Wilcox128431
Bullock125342
Conecuh117730
Coosa115229
Perry109628
Sumter107532
Greene95935
Choctaw63125
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