I looked through the county jail intake records and found Elijah Bleu Blankenship. pic.twitter.com/S3kQ1XWOru— JJ MacNab (@jjmacnab) August 22, 2017
Police were able to get hold of a man in Akron, Ohio, after he allegedly tried to enter the city with a pipe bomb and other explosives, just hours before a vigil for the victims of Charlottesville was going to take place. Elijah B. Blankenship faces felony charges of illegal manufacture and possession of explosives, unlawful possession of dangerous ordnance, and for carrying concealed weapons.
The 26-year-old was just four miles away from downtown Akron, where 500 people had planned to gather to pay respect to the victims of the deadly “Unite the Right” white supremacist rally.
Police started searching Blankenship's vehicle, after a K9 unit alerted on it.
According to an arrest report, the man was inside his Ford Fusion car just before 4 p.m. on Druid Walk when an Ohio State Highway Patrol K9 alerted on the vehicle. He was acting suspiciously, and admitted to having a knife in his waistband, according to police.
While searching the car, investigators found a bag with black powder, a pipe bomb and what appeared to be homemade fireworks from the vehicle. They also found suspected meth and an unknown white substance.
Blankenship has a criminal record including convictions on drug charges with two cases still pending in Summit County Court.
And, yet, somehow, Blankenship was not considered a potential terror threat.
Now, imagine a person of color, especially Muslim, carrying the same amount of ammunition and a pipe bomb to a vigil?
How would the press react?
Following these discoveries, police alerted the Summit County Bomb Squad to clear areas near Mill and Main streets where people were supposed to gather for the planned memorial.
Councilwoman Tara Mosley-Samples, who was present at the site, saw the bomb-sniffing dogs and police converge on the vigil.
"I want them to get to the bottom of it immediately. Whether it was an immediate and direct threat to that vigil, there was some intent for something," she said. "Why would you ride around with a pipe bomb?"
The vigil took place as planned at 8 p.m. after Blankenship’s arrest.
Blankenship is being held on a $100,000 bond.
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Reuters, David Gray