Man arrested at Va. preschool 1st went to CIA Headquarters and said, ‘I’m here and I have a gun,’ source says

Posted at 12:59 PM, May 25, 2023

FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. — A man arrested for having an AK-47 on school property walked up to the CIA Headquarters’ gate in Virginia and allegedly said, “I’m here and I have a gun,” a law enforcement source told CNN.

Uniformed federal officers turned him away at the gate Tuesday and notified Fairfax County police of his description, the source said Wednesday.

The suspect, identified as 32-year-old Eric Sandow of Gainesville, Florida, was later arrested and charged with felony possession of a firearm on school property, police said.

He allegedly trespassed on the grounds of Dolley Madison Preschool around 11 a.m. Tuesday, police said. The preschool is less than 1.5 miles from CIA Headquarters and about a 10-minute drive to major landmarks in Washington, including the National Mall.

“He requested access to the (preschool) building facilities to use the restroom, which was denied by school staff,” Dolley Madison Preschool said in a statement Wednesday. “At no point did he gain physical entrance to the school building.”

Fairfax County police were then called to the scene.

“While speaking with him, he made statements he had weapons inside his car located on school property,” the police department said in a statement Wednesday.

“Officers searched the car and found two weapons, an AK-47 and a pistol, along with magazines and ammunition.”

“It does not appear he was acting in conjunction with anyone else,” Fairfax County police said. “Sandow did not make any threats and the weapons never left the vehicle.”

Fairfax County police say they recovered an AK-47 and another weapon after a man trespassed at a Virginia preschool.

Sandow was arraigned Wednesday morning in Fairfax County General District Court, a court official said.

Court records obtained by CNN on Wednesday shed new light on his encounter with police.

He told the arresting officer that he “worked for the CIA,” according to court filings, though there is no indication that he has any legitimate ties to the agency. Police officers who encountered Sandow at the preschool later described him as acting incoherent and paranoid, according to the documents.

Police officers told the court Sandow “exhibited paranoid behavior, irrational verbal behavior, incoherent statements and had an inability to state a plan or purpose” during his arrest, according to court filings.

The suspect hasn’t yet had an opportunity to enter a plea, a court official said. He requested a public defender, but an attorney hasn’t yet been assigned his case, according to the official.

There were “concerns about public safety if (Sandow) is released,” so he is being held at a detention center in northern Virginia, a judge wrote in a court filing. A bail hearing is scheduled for Thursday, according to court records.

Sandow does not appear to have a lengthy criminal history, public records show. He was charged with misdemeanor domestic battery in 2014, according to court records in Alachua County, Florida. But that case was closed because the “victim does not wish to prosecute,” the records show.

It’s also not clear what may have motivated the incident at the CIA gate. Sandow appears to have a limited social media footprint and did not declare a political party with his voter registration.

Law enforcement lauded the alert person who summoned them to the preschool.

“We’re grateful to the community member who did the right thing and called us,” police said. “We’d like to remind our community to report suspicious activity as you never know what you may prevent by making that call.”



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