- The Washington Times - Monday, June 11, 2012

The man who drove a stolen gasoline-soaked SUV into a downtown office building and attempted to light it on fire told the car’s owner that “there will be bloodshed,” a prosecutor said Monday in D.C. Superior Court.

Charles Ball of New Market, Md., stated that he would “make people pay for their actions” during a voicemail he left before the crash for the female acquaintance who owns the car, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jin Park said. Then Mr. Ball “proceeded to do all he could to make those words true,” Ms. Park said.

Mr. Ball, 32, appeared in court on charges of assault with intent to kill while armed and arson. Dressed in a crinkled white jumpsuit and gray booties, Mr. Ball acknowledged only his name during the court proceedings, shuffling out of the courtroom in chains to await his next court date June 28.

James Whitehead, Mr. Ball’s public defender, said that based on his client’s statement, the dramatic crash was done only “to get the attention of the FBI,” and the comment about bloodshed, if police were even able to accurately identify Mr. Ball on the phone, was not specific to driving the car into the building.

According to court documents, Mr. Ball told officers that he intentionally crashed the car through the window of the Washington Square building near the Farragut North Metro station to get the attention of the FBI, as the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office “wouldn’t do anything.”

According to Maryland online court records, Mr. Ball has a domestic violence charge against him in Frederick County District Court, issued hours before he drove the Jeep into the building’s lobby.

Mr. Ball is also on the Maryland Sex Offender Registry for a 2008 conviction for a third-degree sex offense. He has a long history of arrests throughout the state.

According to court documents, at about 7:30 Friday evening, Mr. Ball rammed the orange Jeep into a ground floor window of 1050 Connecticut Ave. NW, a busy office building that houses a restaurant and is steps from the Metro station escalator. The building is just blocks away from the White House.

When officers arrived, they found the SUV with a red gas canister in the back seat, the front seat soaked in the flammable liquid, and both the gas flap and gas cap open.

During questioning at the scene, Mr. Ball removed a lighter from his pocket and attempted to ignite a flame, court papers say. Mr. Ball attempted to flee, but he was caught and taken to a hospital before being turned over to the police for processing.

Mr. Whitehead argued that simply having a lighter out didn’t mean Mr. Ball wanted to set the car on fire, given that the distance and proximity to the gas-soaked car is not mentioned in charging documents.

Ms. Park countered that Mr. Ball had to use a lighter because he failed in his attempt to ignite the car by driving it through a window.

On Monday, the shattered pane was boarded over, with few passers-by stopping to examine it.