If the United States could be compared to an increasingly full keg of gunpowder, then young men like Garrett James Smith could be the brainless sparks.
Smith, 22, who appears to have been an aspiring junior Antifa terrorist, was arrested near a Jan. 6 anniversary rally in at the Pinellas County Jail in Clearwater, Fla. Smith attracted attention when he suddenly ran away from the crowd wearing attention-getting black clothing and ski mask and carrying a backpack.
Police chased and caught him, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri told a press conference, and then found a homemade pipe bomb in his backpack. He was also carrying a detailed plan of “direct action,” authorities said.
A local congressman and more than 80 others were attending the rally, in support of a member of the Oath Keepers being held on riot charges stemming from the Jan. 6, 2021 march on the Capitol.
“It could have been very destructive, and he could have hurt a lot of people,” Gualtieri said of the pipe bomb, adding that he was certain Smith intended to detonate the bomb before he was spooked. A search of his nearby home (he lives with his parents) turned up another pipe bomb and firework-like devices.
Smith was described as “Antifa” and “Antifa/Anti gov/Extrem.” in affidavits, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
Florida Rep. Anthony Sabatini — who spoke at the rally — described Smith as a “leftist terrorist” who “was stopped moments after I spoke.”
Smith was arrested on charges of making and possessing a destructive device and loitering. He remains in jail on a bond of $300,000. It’s unclear if he yet had an attorney who could comment on the charges.