In the wake of a shocking incident in which a member of Congress was carjacked at gunpoint, federal charges have now been filed against the young man suspected of being the main perpetrator, as Fox News reports.
A Department of Justice press release indicated that 19-year-old Josiah Brown stands accused on federal counts of carjacking as well as carrying and using a firearm during a violent crime as a result of his involvement in the theft of Pennsylvania Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon’s (D) vehicle Wednesday.
According to media reporting following the incident, Scanlon was accosted at gunpoint after leaving a meeting at Philadelphia’s FDR Park at around 2:45 p.m., and, while she sustained no injuries during the encounter, her Acura MDX was driven away by one of the assailant, and her purse and phone were also taken.
The Philadelphia Inquirer subsequently reported that Brown, of Wilmington, Delaware, had been taken into custody and charged for his participation in the carjacking, and though he pleaded not guilty at a virtual arraignment, he was held in jail without bond.
Four other teenaged individuals were also arrested in connection to the events at issue, and they are facing state charges including receiving stolen property, resisting arrest, and criminal mischief, according to the Inquirer.
In announcing the federal charges against Brown, United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams declared that the investigation is in its early stages and is ongoing, but that “armed carjacking is a serious federal crime,” and “if you pick up a gun and use it to commit a crime, together, we will come after you.”
Jacqueline Maguire, FBI special agent in charge of the agency’s Philadelphia Division added, “Anyone willing to victimize a total stranger at gunpoint at any time, much less in broad daylight, in the middle of the day, is a clear threat to our community.
“No one who lives, works, or visits here should have to fear violent criminals targeting them for their vehicle or any other possessions. …We will never cede this city to criminals who have total disregard for the lives and safety of others,” Maguire said.
Underscoring the severity of the consequences that can follow the offenses alleged in this case, if found guilty on the federal charges he now faces, Brown faces the possibility of life in prison.