Militant Islam Monitor > Articles > Mother of 'Jeep Jihadist' working for US government in Afghanistan - Navy Seal Combat tapes found in home - "attack was planned"
Mother of 'Jeep Jihadist' working for US government in Afghanistan - Navy Seal Combat tapes found in home - "attack was planned"
March 20, 2006
By BETH VELLIQUETTE : The Herald-Sun firstname.lastname@example.org Mar 7, 2006 : 8:50 pm ET
HILLSBOROUGH -- Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar had been thinking about retribution against the United States government for two years, according to a detective who interviewed him after his hit-and-run attack at the University of North Carolina last Friday.
"Taheri-azar said he had been thinking about some type of attack for two years, but had been planning this attack for two months," according to a search warrant application that Chapel Hill and UNC police submitted to search Taheri-azar's apartment in Carrboro and the SUV he drove.
Taheri-azar, who graduated from UNC in December and is a native of Iran, is facing nine counts each for attempted murder and for assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury for hitting and injuring nine people in The Pit at UNC on Friday. He made his first appearance in Orange County District Court on Monday in Hillsborough. During that hearing, he thanked the judge for allowing him the opportunity to tell people about "the will of Allah."
The search warrant affidavit states that Detective Matthew Dodson of the UNC Police Department interviewed Taheri-azar and Taheri-azar admitted he "had in fact run over all of the victims at The Pit area of the University of North Carolina campus and that he had done so on purpose."
"Taheri-azar repeatedly said that the United States government had been killing his people across the sea and that he decided to attack," the application said. "Taheri-azar told Dodson that it was 'an eye for an eye.'"
Apparently Taheri-azar was disappointed that his plan to kill was not effective, according to the warrant application. "Taheri-azar also told Dodson that he was disappointed there were not more people in The Pit when the attack occurred," it said.
The Pit is a central gathering place on the UNC campus between the student union, the cafeteria, libraries and the student bookstore, and is not generally open to vehicle traffic. On sunny days, students often congregate in the area, reading, socializing or holding forums or rallies.
Taheri-azar rented a four-wheel drive Jeep Grand Cherokee from Enterprise Rental Agency for maximum effect so he could "run over things and keep going," the application states.
He was also prepared for a fight in case he was trapped or threatened, the application states. "Taheri-azar had in his possession in his vehicle two cans of pepper spray and a five-inch folding knife," it states. That statement somewhat contradicted what Taheri-azar told a 911 dispatcher after the attack in The Pit. He drove several miles to a residential area, stopped and called 911 to let police know where he was.
"I don't have any weapons on me or anything like that. You can come and arrest me now," he told the 911 dispatcher as he stood outside of the Jeep waiting for police.
Just as he said in the call to 911, Taheri-azar told Dodson that they would find a letter in a white envelope on his bed at his apartment at 303 Smith Level Road at the University Commons apartment complex. The letter would explain why he attacked the people on campus.
Shortly after Taheri-azar was taken into custody, Carrboro police evacuated the University Commons apartment complex, called the SBI and its bomb-squad unit and the FBI, which entered the apartment several hours later. The request for the search warrant was made after 11 p.m. Friday, three or four hours after the SBI and FBI entered the apartment.
The search warrant inventory of seized property indicates police did find a white envelope containing a letter from Taheri-azar. The contents of that letter have not been released to the public.
Police also seized a jump drive, a digital voice cassette, two cell phones, two Navy Seal Team Combat Course videotapes, a title for a 1989 GMC truck, an application and paperwork from the Orange County Sheriff's Office for a gun permit, a CD labeled NCSHP 7/1/04, three floppy discs, a PDA, seven CDs, a computer, a monitor, a videotape, a digital camera, a flash card and various other CDs and floppy discs, according to the inventory list.
Meanwhile, Orange-Chatham District Attorney Jim Woodall said he was told that Taheri-azar's mother works for the U.S. government as an interpreter in Afghanistan and that she would be returning to the United States to see her son. Woodall said he was told this by a person who was introduced as Taheri-azar's sister.
Taheri-azar remained in custody at Central Prison on Tuesday under a $5.5 million bond. He is being held in a single cell in the safekeeping unit of the prison, said Keith Acree, spokesman for the N.C. Department of Correction.
"He is isolated from other inmates, not for disciplinary reasons, but for purposes of observation," Acree said.
Prison officials want to see that he is adjusting to his situation. Officials may decide later to allow him to enter the general population of other safekeepers.
Safekeepers are defendants who have not been convicted of crimes but are awaiting trial and being held at the prison, rather than in a county jail.
Taheri-azar has given no indication that he is suicidal, and therefore he has his clothing and other items in his cell with him, Acree said. He will not be able to attend Muslim services at the prison until prison officials decide if and when he can mix with other prisoners. In the meantime, he has the freedom to worship on his own in his cell and will be given a copy of religious materials, such as the Koran, if he requests, Acree said.
Taheri-azar was born in Iran but is a citizen of the United States and therefore, he cannot be deported, said Bill Strassberger of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
"Even if he serves time and is released, U.S. citizens do not get deported from the country," Strassberger said.
Even someone convicted of an act of terrorism would not be deported as long as he was a United States citizen, he said.