Suspect in foiled Cleveland terror plot had sights on Philadelphia

- Federal agents foiled what they call a terror plot that included Philadelphia.

Investigators say a man was going to attack Cleveland, Ohio on the 4th of July and Philadelphia was his next target.

Late January 2015, alleged terrorist Demetris Pitts pleads guilty in Philadelphia to one count of failure to disperse.

His sentence is the time he’d already served behind bars.

That case and records showing him living in a Roxborough apartment that same year make up most of his scant history in Philadelphia.

“He apparently had some thoughts or designs on doing something here. He was not able to do that,” Police Commissioner Richard Ross explained.

On the eve of the city’s July 4th celebration, Pitts’ actions here and in Cleveland are being poured-over in the wake of his arrest Sunday on terrorism charges.

His plan was to bomb Cleveland on Independence Day and attack high-profile sites here with a truck bomb on Labor Day.

“He had not traveled to Philadelphia yet to plan the Philadelphia attack, but he thought of the Philadelphia attack as the big target,” U.S. Attorney William McSwain said.

In an early afternoon briefing, city police argued they’re prepared for Wednesday’s celebration and, despite Pitts’ boasts, he seemed to have been a lone wolf.

“There is nothing to suggest that this individual was working with anyone else,” Commissioner Ross said.

In fact, Pitts appears to have been down-on-his luck.

Records show the 48-year-old residing for a time in a Columbus, Ohio homeless shelter.

Still, Mayor Kenney is cautious.

“I’m always worried. I’m worried every day. This job is nothing but worry,” said Mayor Kenney.
 

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