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This California man tried to run a train off the tracks to attack USNS in Los Angeles

The U.S. Department of Justice charges a California man over the incident

FILE - In this March 27, 2020, file photo, The USNS Mercy enters the Port of Los Angeles in Los Angeles.
In this March 27, 2020, file photo, The USNS Mercy enters the Port of Los Angeles in Los Angeles. A train engineer intentionally drove a speeding locomotive off a track at the Port of Los Angeles because he was suspicious about the presence of a Navy hospital ship docked there amid the coronovirus crisis. The locomotive crashed through a series of barriers before coming to rest more than 250 yards from the U.S. Navy Hospital Ship Mercy on Tuesday, March 31, 2020. Nobody was hurt.
Mark J. Terrill, Associated Press

The U.S. Department of Justice has charged a California man after he allegedly tried to run a train “at full speed off the end of the rail tracks” right near the U.S. Naval Ship Mercy (USNS), the hospital ship that recently ported in Los Angeles.

The details:

  • Eduardo Moreno, 44, of San Pedroa, California, faces charges of one count of train wrecking from the incident, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
  • There were no injuries.
  • The Mercy ship was not harmed or damaged.

What happened:

  • According to the criminal complaint, Moreno alleged in two interviews with federal officials “that he intentionally derailed and crashed the train near the Mercy.”
  • Moreno allegedly ran the train off the tracks and broke through barriers before stopping it 250 yards near where the Mercy was docked, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
  • A California Highway Patrol officer saw the train crash. He took Moreno into custody.
  • The officer said he saw “the train smash into a concrete barrier at the end of the track, smash into a steel barrier, smash into a chain-link fence, slide through a parking lot, slide across another lot filled with gravel, and smash into a second chain-link fence.”
  • According to the officer, Moreno made a bunch of statements, including: “You only get this chance once. The whole world is watching. I had to. People don’t know what’s going on here. Now they will.”
  • In a second interview with the FBI, Moreno said “he did it out of the desire to ‘wake people up,’” according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
  • Moreno reportedly said he thought the ship was suspicious and he didn’t think “the ship is what they say it’s for.”

What’s next:

  • Moreno could face 20 years in federal prison if he is convicted, USA Today reports.