A California engineer purposefully derailed a high speed train to hit the USNS Mercy hospital ship providing COVID-19 relief, prosecutors say.
The engineer, Eduardo Moreno, drove the Parcific Harbor Line train off its tracks and towards the dock.
Fortunately, the train stopped 250 yards from the naval ship.
A steel and concrete barrier helped slow down the train and kept it from going farther, where it could have hurt those inside the hospital ship.
There were no reported injuries.
More detailed on this failed plot below:
The USNS Mercy arrived in California on March 27, 2020 to help with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ship has nearly 1,000 hospital beds and there are 800 active-duty doctors, nurses, and medical personel on board.
Had the train gone any further, it would have caused terrible damage to the floating hospital and those inside it.
According to local ABC 7, Eduardo Moreno was suspicious of the ship and wanted to attack it:
An engineer deliberately ran a train off the tracks at high speed near the Port of Los Angeles in an attempt to crash into and damage the USNS Mercy hospital ship, prosecutors say.
The Pacific Harbor Line train derailed Tuesday, running through the end of the track and crashing through barriers, finally coming to rest about 250 yards from the docked naval ship.
Federal prosecutors allege train engineer Eduardo Moreno, 44, of San Pedro intended to hit the ship, saying he thought it was "suspicious" and did not believe "the ship is what they say it's for.'"
The train crashed into a concrete barrier at the end of the track, smashed through a steel barrier and a chain-link fence, slid through one parking lot and then a second lot filled with gravel and hit a second chain-link fence. It came to rest after passing under a ramp leading to the Vincent Thomas Bridge. The train remained in that position Wednesday.
No one was injured in the derailment, but the train leaked fuel that required a hazmat response.Authorities say Moreno admitted to crashing the train intentionally, but said he did not plan in out in advance. It is believed that he acted alone.
This comes less than one week since it was revealed that the FBI stopped a terror plot to blow up a hospital in Missouri.
While healthcare professionals are putting their own health at risk to help others, there are unfortunately those who would seek to do harm.
During this time of crisis, President Trump is encouraging all Americans to put politics aside and to focus on the humanity of each other.
The CARES stimulus bill, for instance, was intended to help every American worker and business during this time of economic uncertainty.
It is important to keep our healthcare workers safe as they fight to keep us safe!
It is being reported that Moreno doesn't appear to be remorseful.
He knows that the whole world is watching and he intentionally wanted to get people's attention.
Moreno believed that the federal government is using the COVID-19 pandemic to stage a takeover.
Fox News has more on Moreno's conspiratorial beliefs:
Moreno expressed concerns to authorities that the ship had an alternate purpose than to assist with COVID-19 and was potentially linked to a government takeover and he derailed the train to "wake people up."
“You only get this chance once. The whole world is watching. I had to," Moreno told investigators, according to the complaint. "People don’t know what’s going on here. Now they will.”
A California Highway Patrol officer who witnessed the crash 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.”
Video footage recorded from the locomotive’s cab and reviewed by the Los Angeles Port Police shows the train clearly moving at a high rate of speed before crashing through various barriers and coming into close proximity to three occupied vehicles, according to a press release from the Department of Justice. A second video shows Moreno in the cab holding a lighted flare.
Moreno stated that he acted alone and had not pre-planned the attempted attack.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, President Trump has been hesitant to use the full power of the federal government.
He has allowed state and local governments to make their own decisions.
The president acknowledges that small rural towns might not need the same strict protocols that larger cities like New York might need.
Trump has championed principles that limit government power, but puts whatever power exists behind the will of the people.
If convicted, Moreno could face up to 20 years in prison.