Guard: Man tried to start explosion after ramming building

A sports utility vehicle is seen after it crashed into an office building at 1050 Connecticut Avenue NW in Washington, Friday, June 8, 2012. According to news reports, police said the vehicle was intentionally driven into the building and the driver and the interior of the car was doused in gasoline.(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

A Lake Linganore man charged with ramming a stolen SUV into the lobby of a D.C. building a few blocks from the White House told a security officer Friday he was trying to cause an explosion.

The front seat of the Jeep that plowed through the glass front doors at 1050 Connecticut Ave. NW was soaked with gasoline, and Charles Ball started sparking a lighter after officers with the Metropolitan Police Department arrived, according to a preliminary incident report. A gasoline canister was in the back of the SUV, the report stated.

Oliver Adams, a special police officer for the building, said he rushed to the Jeep to check on Ball after the 7:30 p.m. crash. Adams coaxed Ball, 32, out of the driver’s seat and tried to calm him down as they stood next to the SUV.

“He told me someone was after him and his family,” Adams said, adding that Ball seemed disoriented.

Police later arrived on the scene and took the lighter away from Ball, who was taken by ambulance to the George Washington University Hospital for what appeared to be a minor knee injury, according to the report. The document indicated that Ball was charged with arson, destruction of property, unauthorized use of a vehicle and being a fugitive from justice because of an open warrant.

Online D.C. court records indicated Saturday that he had been charged with assault with intent to kill. An MPD spokesperson was unable to verify that the charges had been upgraded.

A woman who owns the Jeep and shares the same address with Ball in the 10200 block of Ladoga Place had filed a domestic violence order against him in the hours before the crash, according to Maryland online court records. An officer with the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office said the woman’s orange 2010 Jeep was reported stolen the same day.

Besides Ball, no one else was injured in the incident, Adams said. The special police officer said bystanders gathered around the SUV and took pictures while he spoke with Ball.

A mix of restaurants such as Morton’s steak house and retail stores, including AT&T and Victoria’s Secret, are grouped inside the 12-story building, which was evacuated Friday night, Adams said.

An agent with the FBI joint terrorism task force was called to the scene after D.C. police arrived.

Ball is listed on the Maryland Sex Offender Registry because of a 2008 conviction for third-degree sex offense.

A woman who answered the door at his listed address told a reporter to get off the property and then went back inside.

A neighbor reported seeing police activity on Ladoga Place in the past few days. Kelley Johnson, who lives one street away from Ball, said she saw a couple of police cars drive slowly through the neighborhood Thursday, and several more passed through the area Friday afternoon.

Her father, Mark Johnson, said it is unusual to see police cars in the quiet Lake Linganore community, adding that he was sorry to hear about the incident involving his neighbors.

“It’s pretty intense,” he said. “My prayers go out to them and their family.”

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