An Army National Guardsman who was carrying a training rifle and wearing military desert camouflage and a ballistic vest was arrested Monday morning after he was spotted running near two Martinsburg schools, police and military officials said.
Monday was the first day of classes for the 2012-13 school year in Berkeley County.
William Everett Alemar, 23, of 1013 S. Raleigh St., Apt. 3 in Martinsburg, was charged with committing a terroristic act and wearing body armor while committing a felony offense, according to police and court records.
Alemar was being held Monday night in Eastern Regional Jail on a $50,000 cash-only bond set by Berkeley County Magistrate Sandra L. Miller, according to court and jail records.
At 7:17 a.m., Martinsburg police received calls about a man seen running while carrying a training rifle in the vicinity of Bulldog Boulevard and South Raleigh Street, Martinsburg Police Lt. George Swartwood said in a news release. Martinsburg High School and Martinsburg South Middle School are across from each other along Bulldog Boulevard.
Martinsburg Patrol Officers Michael Jones, Craig Richmond and Erik Herb encountered the man in the area of Silver Lane and South Raleigh Street “in full military desert camouflage and ballistic vest and with what appeared to be an assault rifle across his chest,” Swartwood said in the news release.
After engaging him at gunpoint, the officers ordered the man to his knees and then to the prone position before seizing an AR-15 (M-4) training rifle from him, according to the news release.
Swartwood said Monday night that the rifle has the look and feel of one that shoots bullets, but it shoots pellets. Two knives and several unloaded magazines also were found in the man’s possession, according to the news release.
His ballistic vest contained ceramic panels, which make it more bullet-resistant, according to police.
Police said the man indicated he was out running and jogging while wearing his gear, according to the news release.
“The primary concern for the police department was that subject’s proximity to the area schools — Martinsburg High School, South Middle — when he was first located off Bulldog Boulevard,” Swartwood said.
No explosives were found in a search of the man’s apartment Monday afternoon, but additional military equipment and a training pistol, similar to the rifle in its function, were found and seized as evidence, police said.
Alemar’s father, Stephen Alemar, told The Herald-Mail on Monday that he believes his son was running with his gear to stay in shape for his next military assignment. Alemar said his son returned home in December from deployment in Iraq, where he had been assigned to a special forces unit.
“He’s not a terrorist; he’s not a bad kid,” his father said.
Alemar said his son wanted to serve his country his entire life and volunteered to go to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Alemar said his son graduated from Massanutten Military Academy in Woodstock, Va., and enlisted with the Army National Guard after he was unable to get into the United States Naval Academy.
Records indicate William Alemar enlisted in January 2007, U.S. Army spokesman Ray Gall said Monday.
Berkeley County Schools spokeswoman Leah Catlett said the incident had no effect on the schools where classes had yet to begin for the day.
Martinsburg police were assisted by the Loudoun County(Va.) Sheriff’s Office, West Virginia State Police, Martinsburg Fire Department and the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.
Alemar is assigned to the Woodstock, Va.-based Company B, 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Virginia National Guard, West Virginia National Guard spokesman Lt. Col. David P. Lester said Monday night.
Alemar deployed to Iraq from July 1 to Dec. 6, 2011, with Company D, 3-116th, and was assigned to Task Force 183 for convoy security duty, according to Lester.
Defense attorney Kevin D. Mills said Monday night that his law firm is representing Alemar.