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Tag: church

FBI Arrests Truck Driver Over Alleged Mass Shooting Plot at Memphis Church

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI arrested a truck driver accused of threatening to “shoot up” a Memphis, Tenn., church after saying he was haunted by “spiritual snakes and spiders in my bed at night.”

Federal authorities said Thomas Matthew McVicker, 38, “made credible threats to conduct a mass shooting and suicide” at the church, which he told a friend placed the snakes and spiders in his bed, The Associated Press reports.

“I’ve only seen them a couple of times but they take form and I can feel them crawling on me and under me,” McVicker said, according to an affidavit filed Monday.

FBI arrested McVicker in Indiana a week before he planned to be in Memphis to carry out the attack, authorities said in court filings.

McVicker’s friend alerted the FBI to McVicker’s alleged plans.

McVicker’s mother told the FBI her son owned a handgun, occasionally used cocaine and methamphetamine and has been treated with schizophrenia.

DOJ: FBI Foils Syrian Refugee’s Plot to Bomb a Church in Pittsburgh

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The FBI foiled a Syrian refugee’s plot to attack a Christian church in Pittsburgh next month, the Justice Department announced Wednesday.

Mustafa Mousab Alowemer, 21, a Pittsburgh resident, was charged with one count of attempting to provide material support and resources to ISIS and two counts of distributing information relating to an explosive, destructive device or weapon of mass destruction.

Alowemer is accused of planning to bomb a church in Pittsburgh in the name of ISIS using a “weapon of mass destruction”

The Justice Department said Alowemer was motivated to attack the church to “take revenge for our (ISIS) brothers in Nigeria.

“Our top priority is protecting the citizens of western Pennsylvania,” U.S. Attorney Scott W. Brady said. “Every day investigators and prosecutors work tirelessly behind the scenes to disrupt terrorist activity and keep our community safe. While the public does not always see the results of the hard work of these dedicated men and women, this case is a visible demonstration of our commitment to rooting out terrorists and bringing them to justice.”

Born in Syria, Alowemer was permitted into the U.S. as a refugee in August 2016.

Air Force Error Allowed Texas Mass Shooter with Violent History to Buy Firearms

Church shooter Devin Kelley

Church shooter Devin Kelley

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Texas church gunman who killed 26 people and wounded 20 more worshipers at a Texas church on Sunday should never have been able to buy the guns he used in the massacre.

But the Air Force failed to notify the FBI that Devin Kelley was sentenced to a year of confinement after a court martial found him guilty on two charges of domestic assault. According to numerous reports, Kelley brutally assaulted his wife, threatened her multiple times with loaded and unloaded guns and cracked his stepson’s skull. 

The Air Force failed to enter the domestic violence conviction into the National Criminal Investigation Center database, which would have prohibited him from buying a gun legally.

That omission allowed Kelley to pass background checks to buy four guns, some of which were used in the mass shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs.

Several investigation are underway to determine why the Air Force never flagged Kelley.

Authorities also revealed Monday that Kelley was involved in a dispute with his mother-in-law, who attended the church in the past but was not there Sunday.

“He expressed anger towards his mother-in-law,”  Freeman Martin, a spokesman for the Texas department of public safety, said at a press conference on Monday. “This was not racially motivated, it wasn’t over religious beliefs.”

Investigators Search for Motive in Mass Shooting at Texas Church

Church shooter Devin Kelley

Church shooter Devin Kelley

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Investigators are trying to determine what motivated a 26-year-old former Air Force member to dress in black commando gear and a tactical vest and open fire at the First Baptist Church in a small Texas town, killing 26 people Sunday.

Among those killed were eight family members.

The gunman fled in his car after a local man began shooting at him, causing the suspect to run off the roadway, where authorities believe he took his own life or was shot in an exchange of gunfire with the armed resident, the Washington Post reports

“There was some gunfire exchanged, I believe, on the roadway also, and then [the gunman’s vehicle] wrecked out,” Wilson County Sheriff Joe Tackitt told CBS News. “At this time we believe that he had a self-inflicted gunshot wound, after he wrecked out.”

Few details were immediately known about the shooter, identified as Devin Kelley, who was released from the Air Force with a bad-conduct discharge in 2014. At one point, Kelley had seven as a logistical readiness airman stationed at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico, according to Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek.

FBI Launches Civil Rights Investigation into Mass Shooting at Tennessee Church

Emanuel Kidega Samson

Emanuel Kidega Samson

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI has launched a civil rights investigation into the mass shooting that killed one woman and wounded eight others at a church in Nashville, Tenn., on Sunday.

“The Memphis FBI Field Office’s Nashville Resident Agency, the Civil Rights Division, and the US Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee have opened a civil rights investigation into the shooting at the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch, Tennessee,” David Boling, spokesman for the U.S. attorney in Nashville, said in a statement.

“The FBI will collect all available facts and evidence. As this is an ongoing investigation we are not able to comment further at this time.”

Police identified the attacker as Emanuel Kidega Samson, 25, a legal U.S. resident who came to the U.S. from Sudan and lived in Murfreesboro, Tenn.

Authorities were still unsure of a motive Sunday evening, but church members told investigators that Samson attended the church a few times in the past year or two.

Samson first opened fire in the parking lot at the Burnette Chapel Church, fatally shooting a woman who was walking to her car. Samson then walked into the church with two pistols, shooting six people. Samson also was injured from a self-inflicted gunshot to the chest and was hospitalized for several hours before he was taken into police custody.

He is expected to be charged today with murder and other related charges.

Dylann Roof’s Friend to Be Sentenced to 27-33 Months for Lying to FBI

Dylann Roof

Dylann Roof

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A week before Dylann Roof killed nine people at a historically black church in South Carolina, he shared his plans with a friend as they drank vodka and snorted cocaine about a week earlier.

Now his friend, Joey Meek, is expected to be sentenced today to 27 to 33 months in prison for lying to the FBI, the New York Post reports.

Authorities say Meek lied to the FBI about the plot and even encouraged friends not to alert authorities about it.

Roof was sentenced to death for the June 2015 shooting.

Roof, an admitted racist, shot people inside an Emanuel AME church.

Justice Department Seeks Death Penalty for Church Shooter Dylan Roof

Dylann Roof

Dylann Roof

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department is seeking the death penalty for Dylan Roof, the man accused of a carefully planned shooting that killed nine parishioners in a Charleston, South Carolina, church last year.

“Following the department’s rigorous review process to thoroughly consider all relevant factual and legal issues, I have determined that the Justice Department will seek the death penalty,” Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch said in a statement Tuesday. “The nature of the alleged crime and the resulting harm compelled this decision.”

The Washington Post reports that federal prosecutors explained why they were pursuing the death sentence, describing the shooting as racially motivated.

Roof “demonstrated a lack of remorse” and targeted a Bible study group to “magnify the societal impact” of the massacre.

Other Stories of Interest

Attorney: Terrorism Suspect Entrapped by Flirtatious Undercover Agents

Khalil Abu-Rayyan.

Khalil Abu-Rayyan.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A 21-year-old Muslim man accused of planning an attack on a Detroit church was lured into a relationship by a woman who turned out to be an undercover FBI agent, his attorney said.

“Every time I close my eyes, I see you right by me,” he texted her on Dec. 13, according to the Detroit Free Press.  “Words can’t explain my love for you.”

Soon after, the woman cut off the relationship with Khalil Abu-Rayyan. A month later, another woman began communicating with Abu-Rayyan, saying she loved him. She, too, was an undercover FBI employee, the man’s attorney, Todd Shanker, wrote in a court brief.

“The government resorted to a mind-boggling double-team against Rayyan with not one, but two young, fictitious Islamic women, who mercilessly manipulated him and pretended to be potential wives to Rayyan, a young U.S. citizen with no prior criminal history before the government’s aggressive involvement in his personal life,” Shanker wrote.

A judge denied Abu-Rayyan’s request for bond.