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Suspect accused of planning a domestic terror attack arrested in Indianapolis

Christopher Byrne

Christopher Byrne

FRANKLIN, Ind.– An Indianapolis man was arrested after police say he planned an act of domestic terrorism.

Police say Christopher Byrne, 31, was arrested on August 15 in possession of items that suggested he was planning the act.

Greenwood Police Department officer Eric McElhaney noticed Byrne driving in a suspicious manner through the Greenwood Park Mall parking lot. The officer pulled him over after a traffic violation at U.S. 31.

When asked for identification, police say Byrne claimed to be a “sovereign national” and refused the request. Byrne was eventually identified as a habitual traffic offender and was arrested.

During a search of his car following the arrest, officers found a Ruger 10-22 rifle with 100 rounds of ammunition. A scope and homemade suppressor were attached to the rifle. In the back seat of the car, water bottles full of bleach and ammonia were found.

Although the bleach and ammonia had not been combined at the time of the traffic stop, when they are combined these items form a toxic gas in the open or a destructive device if mixed together in a sealed container, police say.

In August 2015, Byrne was convicted of theft after authorities searched Byrne’s Indianapolis apartment and found numerous items of stolen police equipment.

Among the items found during that search was a AR-15 rifle that had been stolen out of the police car of Greenwood Officer Michelle Richardson in October of 2014 while her car was parked in a private driveway in Franklin. Officer Richardson’s marked police car was set on fire after that theft.

Byrne was facing a jury trial August 23 for the previous charges when this traffic stop occurred. On August 22, he pleaded guilty to pending charges of carrying a handgun without a license with a felony conviction and habitual traffic offender.

Officials are reviewing possible additional federal firearms and toxic chemicals charges for Byrne’s actions on August 15.

Due to the circumstances, Byrne’s previous bond was revoked and a $1 million bond was ordered.