Sydney Bobb, a rising senior at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, snapped the first picture to publicly circulate of Floyd Ray Roseberry, the man police have identified as the would-be bomber, outside the Library of Congress.
She was on her way to class — “literally a block away from the Library of Congress” — when she saw a pickup truck parked up on the sidewalk.
Roseberry, who recorded many livestream videos to his Facebook page in which he bemoans the state of the country under President Joe Biden, parked in the Capitol complex Thursday morning. He held a device in his lap, which he told passersby was connected to a bomb. After speaking with negotiators, he surrendered to law enforcement Thursday afternoon and is now in custody.
Bobb said she heard Roseberry yelling that he had a bomb, and telling people to call 9-1-1. She watched him throw fistfuls of dollar bills out of the window as she swerved around the vehicle.
She took the picture as she crossed the street. “I’m from Boston, I’m from a city, so when crazy things happen, you just mind your business,” she told TPM.
— fupa mama (@nirvananoir) August 19, 2021
But still, she was concerned — not least for her classmates, who she knew would be coming the same way behind her. She called them to make sure they avoided the truck.
“It’s a white guy in a truck near the Capitol,” she said. “I’m not from D.C., I don’t know if that’s a regular Tuesday here.”
She said she saw some people ignore the man and keep walking, while one DoorDash delivery man stopped his bike to scoop up the bills.
One of her classmates, Bobb said, stopped a Supreme Court police officer to alert him to the situation, but he said it was the jurisdiction of the Capitol Police.
“Weird, okay,” Bobb remembers thinking. “So if there was a guy with a gun, you’re just gonna wait for the right people to come?”
She said she had to “suffer through” two anxious hours before law enforcement contacted her class, telling them they couldn’t leave and had to shelter in place. An hour later, she said, they were evacuated.
Bobb said she is only in D.C. in the first place because UW offered the one-month study away program as “half-assed compensation” for students who were supposed to study abroad in India or Botswana before COVID-19 scuttled those plans. She’s taking a class on race and politics in the United States.
“It’s been such a long day,” she sighed.