Arrest of man with assault weapon at Trump Hotel in DC averted ‘potential disaster’

Editor’s note: This story’s headline has been changed to reflect the type of weapon found in Bryan Moles’ vehicle.

WASHINGTON — A 43-year-old Pennsylvania man with two guns, including an assault weapon, in his vehicle was arrested early Wednesday morning after checking into the Trump International Hotel several blocks from the White House.

D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham said a tip from a concerned citizen in Pennsylvania led to the arrest, which he said at a morning news conference averted a “potential disaster.”

A tipster alerted Pennsylvania State Police that Bryan Moles, of Edinboro, Pennsylvania, was traveling to D.C. and possibly to the Trump hotel armed with weapons. Newsham said.

Pennsylvania authorities alerted D.C. police and the Secret Service about 12:30 a.m. Moles checked into the hotel without incident at about 1 a.m., Newsham said.

When police searched his vehicle in the hotel parking garage, they discovered a Bushmaster AR-15 assault weapon and a Glock handgun, as well as 90 rounds of ammunition.

Moles was arrested inside his hotel room, and has been charged with one count of carrying a dangerous weapons, one count of  carrying a pistol without a license outside of a home or business, as well as having unregistered ammunition.

Moles has answered questions from local authorities and the Secret Service, Newsham said.

Secret Service Deputy Special Agent Mike Ball said agents have determined that Moles “posed no immediate threat to any Secret Service protectees.”

The Secret Service investigation is still new and ongoing, Ball said.

Newsham said police are still trying to determine why Moles traveled to D.C.

“We’re going to do a thorough examination if we can get to the motive as to why this guy was coming to the District of Columbia armed with these weapons, Newsham said. “I was very concerned about this … very peculiar circumstance, and I believe that the officers and our federal partners and in particular the tipster coming forward averted a potential disaster in our nation’s capital.”

Newsham said police do not have enough information at this time to charge Moles with making threats.

Jack Moore

Jack Moore joined as a digital writer/editor in July 2016. Previous to his current role, he covered federal government management and technology as the news editor at, part of Government Executive Media Group.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a general assignment reporter with WTOP since 1997. He says he looks forward to coming to work every day, even though that means waking up at 3:30 a.m.

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