ALEXANDRIA, Va. (KDKA/AP) – A Virginia man with Pittsburgh-area ties, accused of obstructing a terrorism investigation by destroying a thumb drive, will remain in jail for at least another week.
Twenty-one-year-old Sean Duncan, now of Sterling, but formerly of Aspinwall, made an initial appearance Tuesday in federal court after his arrest Friday. A magistrate ordered that Duncan remain jailed pending a Jan. 8 hearing.
According to an FBI affidavit, agents were preparing to execute a search warrant on Duncan’s home when he ran out the back door and tossed a bag with a crushed thumb drive over agents’ heads.
The affidavit says Duncan has been under FBI scrutiny since February 2016, when he was living in the Pittsburgh suburbs. Family members told authorities that Duncan had converted to Islam and may have become radicalized.
Duncan, and his wife, Dr. Zakiya Duncan, lived in an apartment complex in Aspinwall, but moved to Virginia last June shortly after the couple’s 4-month-old son, Mohammud, died of undetermined causes.
It was during the investigation into the child’s death that Allegheny County Police allegedly found items on Duncan’s phone that concerned them, such as searches for ISIS-related material, weapons, body armor and defense tactics. County police turned over their findings to the FBI.
In court on Tuesday, Duncan asked for a court-appointed lawyer to represent him at his preliminary hearing next Monday.
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