Atlanta Man Arrested in Plot to Attack Federal Buildings
Authorities on January 16 arrested an Atlanta man they said targeted the White House in an attack plot. Hasher Jallal Taheb (pictured) is charged with attempting to damage or destroy a building owned by the United States using fire or an explosive following a 10-month FBI investigation. Prosecutors said the 21-year-old from Cumming, Georgia, planned to fire an anti-tank rocket at the White House before entering the building to kill people on January 17. He was arrested while trying to trade his vehicle for semi-automatic rifles and explosives. A community member alerted law enforcement in March that Taheb had radicalized, changed his name, and planned to travel overseas, according to a criminal complaint. Taheb told an FBI informant in August that he was selling his car to fund the trip. Since he did not have a US passport, Taheb made plans to attack sites in the United States, such as the White House and the Statue of Liberty. The prospective target list later expanded to include the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, and a synagogue. The complaint said Taheb promoted jihad, used code words when asking for help in procuring weapons and explosives, and had a drawing of the White House’s West Wing. Authorities believe Taheb acted alone and did not have ties to any terrorist organization.
Gunman in Hostage Situation at Logan Township Warehouse Fatally Shot by Authorities
An armed Sicklerville (Camden County) man who held two women hostage at a UPS warehouse in Logan Township (Gloucester County) died after a standoff with police on January 14. Authorities, including the Gloucester County SWAT Team, responded to an active shooter report around 8:30 a.m. William Owens fired shots as he entered the facility, but nobody was struck by the bullets. The 39-year-old barricaded himself inside with two female hostages. Thirty-two employees were evacuated from the building and taken to a nearby hotel. According to the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, members of law enforcement fired at Owens as he exited the facility with the hostages while armed with a gun. He died at the scene. Gloucester County Prosecutor Charles Fiore said the SWAT team was forced to intervene after Owens would not surrender during the standoff, which lasted more than three hours. The two women did not suffer serious injuries. Fiore noted Owens had a relationship with one of the women. Owens’ criminal history since 2001 included aggravated assault and weapons offenses.
Michigan Man Charged With Leaving Threatening Voicemail for US Senator From New Jersey
A man accused of leaving a threatening voicemail for US Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey would face up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 if convicted. Ricky Lynn Simmons was charged with one count of interstate communication with threat to injure, according to an indictment unsealed January 14 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Authorities said Simmons called Booker’s office in Camden County on October 26, left a message threatening to put a gun in the senator’s face and used racial slurs. In October, Booker was one of several Democratic figures mailed packages containing an improvised explosive device. The package addressed to Booker’s Camden office was intercepted at a South Florida mail-sorting facility. A Florida man was charged.