Man Imprisoned for Weapons & Explosives Charges Following Capitol Hill Arrest
by Jim Kouri, CPP
A Virginia man has been sentenced to 22 years in prison following his conviction on multiple weapons charges, including possession of explosives and the attempted manufacture or possession of a weapon of mass destruction near the U.S. Capitol in January 2008, U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Jeffrey A. Taylor and U.S. Capitol Police Chief Phillip D. Morse Sr. announced on Friday in a report obtained by the National Association of Chiefs of Police.
Thirty-eight year old Michael Stephen Gorbey received the sentence in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia before Judge Gregory Jackson, who said "it was only by the Grace of God that nobody was hurt." The judge also stated that "there is a very dangerous side" to Gorbey.
Gorbey was found guilty on May 19, 2008, by a Superior Court jury of unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon; two counts of carrying a dangerous weapon; possession of an unregistered firearm; eight counts of possession of unregistered ammunition; possessing, transporting or transferring explosives; and attempted manufacture or possession of a weapon of mass destruction. This case marks the first time that the US Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia charged a person with attempting to manufacture or possess a weapon of mass destruction based upon the local District of Columbia statute that was passed in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
Evidence at trial showed that on January 18, 2008, Gorbey drove into the District of Columbia after being told that he could not get an appointment with US Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. Gorbey had purportedly requested an appointment with the Chief Justice to tell him about a massive government conspiracy that Gorbey believed included attempts on Gorbey's life. After driving into the District of Columbia, Gorbey parked his truck several blocks away from the Supreme Court. The defendant then put on a bullet-proof vest and armed himself with a pump-action shotgun, 27 rounds of shotgun ammunition and a sword that was nearly three feet long.
Gorbey then started walking down First Street, NE, towards the U.S. Supreme Court. A citizen alerted officers who confronted Gorbey at gunpoint. After ignoring several orders to drop his weapon, the defendant finally placed the shotgun on the ground and officers took him into custody.
Officers located Gorbey's truck in the unit block of D Street, NE, and a trained canine indicated there were explosives inside of the truck. Members of the USCP Hazardous Devices Unit detonated a small charge inside of the truck to disrupt a suspected bomb, and then searched the truck. The officers did not locate any explosives; however, they did locate approximately 750 additional rounds of ammunition. After the search of the vehicle by the bomb technicians, the vehicle was towed to a government facility in the District of Columbia, where it was secured for further investigation.
Later, officers conducted a more thorough search of the truck after obtaining a search warrant. During this search, a crime scene search officer located a homemade bomb behind the bench seat of the truck. The bomb was made out of a bottle of lead shot and a box of shotgun shells that were duct-taped to a metal can of black gunpowder. This device was disrupted using a high-velocity stream of water and the remnants of the bomb were sent to the FBI's forensics laboratory in Quantico, Virginia.
An expert who examined the device found what appeared to be a small hole in the can that could have been used to hold a fuse for the bomb. This same expert testified that if detonated, the device could have caused death or serious bodily injury to multiple people.
"Today's sentence recognizes the significant threat that Gorbey posed to the public at large and to those government officials he believed had offended him," said U.S. Attorney Taylor. "As the court noted today, but for the professionalism and patience of the uniformed members of the U.S. Capitol Police, this could easily have developed into a deadly confrontation. This case serves as an important reminder of the risks that law enforcement officers take each day to protect the citizens, employees and institutions of the Nation's Capitol."
"I am very proud of the U.S. Capitol Police officers who successfully prevented a dangerous felon from inflicting harm to our community," said USCP Chief Morse. "We also want to thank the Assistant U.S. Attorneys for their outstanding work and prosecution of Gorbey. These outstanding efforts and the combined teamwork have resulted in getting a felon off the streets.
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for a number of organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. He writes for many police and crime magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer, Campus Law Enforcement Journal, and others. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com, Booksamillion.com, and can be ordered at local bookstores. Kouri holds a bachelor of science in criminal justice and master of arts in public administration and he's a board certified protection professional.