Naveed Afval Haq : Rampage at Jewish office sudden Jihad syndrome- Similiarities to Jeep Jihadist at UNC show pattern
July 30, 2006
MIM: The actions of Naveed Afval Haq fit the 'sudden jihad syndrome' pattern of Mohammed Reza Tahieri who rammed his jeep into a group of students at the University of North Carolina campus a few months ago- claiming he wanted to punish America for killing Muslims. At the end of his rampage, which left several students injured but no deaths, Tahieri calmly dialed 911 and told police to come and get him.Friends and colleagues described him as a nice but quiet guy and his family professed shock and dismay at the incident.
Naveed Afval Haq had a degree in electrical engineering and was described by one friend as "always smiling" in his high school yearbook, the caption under his picture reads "Peace unto you all". Haq had also won an award from the United States Institute of Peace for an essay he wrote while a student. To all accounts, Haq's act was carefully planned, from the purchase of the guns to the hiding behind a plant at the Jewish Federation building waiting to take a hostage in order to gain entrance to the building. After the shooting spree,which left one woman dead and 5 injured.Haj reportedly spoke to 911 dispatchers and told them to come and get him.
Haq's actions also point to the possiblility that he was a Takfieri, and converted to Christianity, (if this is indeed the case) to allay suspicion. He was seen in the Tri State Islamic Center by a family friend and mosque official, Muhammed Ullah two weeks before the shooting. Haq's father was a co founder of the mosque. If Haq had become a Christian, it would be expected that he would have been excommunicated from the mosque, and labelled an apostate. Haq's attendance at the mosque 2 weeks prior to the attacks suggest he might have converted as cover-or made a sudden decision to prove he was not an apostate by avenging Muslims in a spectacular attack, hence the declaration that "I am a Muslim American-angry at Israel" before he opened fire.
The entrance of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle is barricaded Saturday after a gunman killed a woman and injured five others there Friday. The suspect allegedly ambushed a teen and forced his way in. (KEVIN P.
Shooting suspect was baptized
By SCOTT GUTIERREZ
RICHLAND -- Those who knew Naveed Haq said Saturday that to them he was an enigma, a puzzle that they wish they could have solved before his deadly rampage in a Seattle Jewish center.
Stunned and saddened by the news, some of Haq's acquaintances recounted many of what they saw as the contradictions of his life.
He held a degree in electrical engineering and was the son of a successful engineer, yet he couldn't keep a regular job. He was smart, creative and skilled as a writer. He recently won an essay contest for a U.S. Institute of Peace scholarship.
Yet Haq was frustrated at his lack of friends and female companionship.He told friends he felt alienated from his own family, in part because his career had disappointed his father and also because he had disavowed Islam last year, converting to Christianity.
Haq had begun studying the Bible, attending weekly men's spiritual group meetings, only to stop coming a few months after his baptism.
He had told the group's leader that he seen too much anger in Islam and that he wanted to find a new beginning in Christianity.
Yet in the midst of his shooting spree in Seattle Friday, he declared himself an angry Muslim.
Acquaintances said he never seemed the fanatic religious extremist he played out on Friday. Instead some think his anger was really directed at problems in his personal and professional life.
"Naveed had the profile of the guy who just couldn't get things together," said Erik Neilsen, a Richland resident who let Haq live with him for three months in 2004. He said he thinks several problems compounded for Haq, and he just exploded."I wish I could have done something about it. I look back in retrospect and say 'Is there anything I could have done.'"
Last winter, Haq began attending a weekly men's group meeting led by a member of the Word of Faith Church in Kennewick.
The group's leader, Albert Montelongo, said Haq started studying the Bible and in December he underwent a water baptism at the non-denominational church, performed by Montelongo. He said Haq accepted his new faith, though he knew that he would also be offending his own family and its deeply rooted culture. His father, Mian Haq, was among the founders of the Islamic Center of the Tri-Cities in Richland.
Montelongo said Haq seemed depressed by the tension that had grown between him and his family. And he said Haq talked about suffering from bipolar disorder. But that he seemed to improve in how he coped with what Montelongo described as his own anger.
A few months after he was baptized, though, Haq stopped coming to the men's group meetings. Montelongo last heard from Haq in a message that said he was going to Seattle to find a job. He said he tried to call Haq several times but never reached him.
Then on Friday, Montelongo said he saw the news in Seattle and thought the man in police custody looked like Haq.
"I don't understand that. That throws me off from everything he was doing here," Montelongo said. "That blew me away."
"We'll be praying for him and everybody that was hurt in what happened, and everybody that's involved in it," Montelongo said.
At the Islamic Center of Tri-Cities, a senior member, Muhammad Kaleem Ullah, said that Haq stopped attending regularly after he graduated from Richland High School in 1994. He said Haq would attend off and on while visiting his parents and that he surprised members on a Friday two weeks ago with a visit.
"This is a totally sad day for us. This is the closest I've ever come to something like this," said Ullah. "What could have been going on in his brain has been very hard to figure out."
After high school, Haq enrolled in dentistry school at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., something his father encouraged. But after about four years of study, Haq decided to quit school and return home. That also created some tension between father and son, Ullah said.
Instead Haq went to Washington State University, where he earned a degree in electrical engineering.
Efforts to reach his family were unsuccessful.
In March, Haq was arrested for lewd conduct at a Tri-Cities mall. It was Ullah he called to bail him out of jail, because he was too embarrassed to call his own family, Ullah said.
The family was very distraught at Friday's events, Ullah said, based on a conversation he had with Haq's father after his son's arrest.
Haq apparently moved back and forth between Tri-Cities and Seattle while he was looking for employment. At one point, he told Neilsen, the friend with whom he lived for a few months in 2004, that he was working as a security guard at a Seattle area department story. Neilsen said he'd lost touch with Haq until about six weeks ago when he got an e-mail from Haq, saying his friend had started work at a Home Depot store in Everett.
He said it seemed odd that someone with a degree in engineering had taken an unskilled job. It seemed to him that Haq had trouble keeping steady employment and that he often lacked focus in his career.
Neilsen said he thinks Haq's issues with family, his religion and even his social life just compounded. He said he believed his friend wanted desperately to fit into mainstream U.S. society. But he felt like an outcast in his own family.
Neilsen, a fellow engineer, said he was deeply saddened at Friday's news.
"I've had conversations with him; he'd come over and we'd have a cigar in my back yard and have a nice talk. And all of a sudden, it's like 'What happened? What happened to you?'."
Scott Gutierrez can be reached at 206-448-8334 or [email protected].
'I am a Muslim American, angry at Israel'
On the eve of the Jewish Sabbath, a 30-year-old man claiming he was upset about "what was going on in Israel" opened fire at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle building, killing one person and wounding five women, one of them pregnant.
Three of the women were in critical condition Friday night with gunshot wounds to the stomach.
The gunman, brandishing a large-caliber semi-automatic pistol, forced his way through the security door at the federation, on Third Avenue downtown, after an employee had punched in her security code.
"He said, 'I am a Muslim American, angry at Israel,' before opening fire on everyone," said Marla Meislin-Dietrich, a database coordinator for the center. "He was randomly shooting at everyone."
The man was booked into King County Jail at 10:38 p.m. as Naveed Afzal Haq on one count of investigation of homicide and five counts of investigation of attempted homicide, according to King County Jail records.
The man apparently was from the Tri-Cities area, and authorities there confirmed Friday night that they had visited two residences in the area and were preparing to go into a third with the assistance of the FBI. A bomb squad was standing by in Kennewick. Local media reported he had a misdemeanor lewd conduct charge pending in Benton County. He allegedly exposed himself in a public place.
The shootings come just weeks after Jewish leaders told Congress that there was a "critical threat" to their institutions nationwide because of escalating tensions in the Middle East.
The FBI has labeled the shootings a "hate crime" based on what the gunman told police in a 911 call.
"I feel sick to my stomach," said Becki Chandler, 35, who has been a volunteer for the Jewish Federation for seven years. She came to Harborview Medical Center as soon as she heard about the shootings. "It feels like a personal attack."
Police apprehended the lone gunman without incident at 4:15 p.m. after officers talked him out of the building.
The man was arrested at the corner of Third Avenue and Lenora Street, near the federation building.
"We believe ... it's a lone individual acting out his antagonism," said David Gomez, an FBI assistant special agent in charge of counterterrorism in Seattle.
In Seattle, FBI agent Fred Gutt said the agency sent out two generalized warnings to Washington law enforcement, on July 21 and on Wednesday, listing general scenarios to be alert for. Places of religious significance were mentioned, including mosques, synagogues and churches, but the warning was not specific, he said.
Gutt said the FBI is helping Seattle police assess whether the gunman was a "lone wolf" or part of a wider plan. If evidence of a terrorist plot evolved, the FBI would become the lead agency, but as of Friday night the case remained Seattle's, Gutt said.
Authorities did not release any details about the suspect and would not discuss possible motives.
In a news conference, police Chief Kerlikowske said the man was a U.S. citizen, but not from Seattle. His relatives were being contacted and interviewed.
"There's nothing to indicate that it's terrorism-related," Gomez said. "But we're monitoring the entire situation."
"This is a sad day in the city of Seattle," Mayor Greg Nickels said. "This is a crime of hate, and there's no place for that in Seattle."
The mayor and Kerlikowske said the city will be providing outreach assistance to the local Jewish community, and added patrols will be on duty to protect synagogues and other Jewish facilities.
Seattle mosques will also be protected by police as a safeguard against possible retaliation from outraged citizens.
Harborview spokeswoman Pamela Steele said five victims were taken to the hospital. "I've never seen such a swarm of people," Steele said of the scene as the victims and medics arrived at the trauma center.
The women ranged in age from the 20s to the 40s. Each suffered gunshot wounds to the abdomen, knee, groin or arm. Three were in surgery and in critical condition Friday night. Two were in satisfactory condition.
A hospital spokesman identified the pregnant woman as Dayna Klein. She was in satisfactory condition with a gunshot wound in her left forearm and was scheduled for surgery. Carol Goldman was in satisfactory condition with injuries to her knees.
Cheryl Stumbo, director of marketing and communications for the federation, also was identified as one of the victims and was in critical condition Friday night.
Kathryn Bush said Friday night that her daughter, Layla Bush, had been injured in the shooting.
"She's out of surgery, but that's all we know," she said in a call Friday night from her Florida home. "We're taking it moment by moment. I'm really in shock right now, but I'm trusting in the Lord to bring me through."
She said her daughter, 23, was "really bright" and always wanted to work for non-profits and foundations. She joined the federation as the office manager and receptionist about six months ago.
Police got the first 911 call of shots fired at the Jewish Federation at 4:03 p.m. Friday just as people were preparing to leave work for the weekend. About 10 people were left in the building. Witnesses said the shooter indicated he was acting because of Israel's actions in Lebanon.
The initial call authorities received reported the shots and a possible hostage situation, assistant Seattle police Chief Nick Metz said at an early evening news conference.
Witnesses to the shooting and people who work at the federation described a chaotic, terrifying scene.
Kami Knatt works at the federation's Holocaust center. As she exited the building, she saw a wounded co-worker fall down. Knatt took her sweater off and tried to stop the bleeding.
"I asked her, 'Are you OK?' She said, 'No, I've been shot.' I kept saying it's going to be OK."
The victim told Knatt: "I'm going to black out, I'm going to black out." Knatt replied: "You're going to be all right."
Several workers and victims ran toward a nearby Starbucks. There was a small pool of blood outside the coffee shop.
Nathaniel Mullins, 43, was turning onto Lenora Street with his 19-year-old daughter when he heard police say, "Get back! Get back!"
Mullins said he saw two shooting victims. "They were covered in blood," he said.
Rachel Hynes works in the building. "I was in the back of the building when I heard gunshots. It sounded like balloons, but they were really loud," she said. "I picked up my purse and I walked out of the building."
Zach Carstensen, who is the director of government relations for the Jewish Federation, said he heard shots and screams.
"People started running, and I started running with them," Carstensen said.
Asked whether he thought his office had been targeted because of the conflict in the Mideast, Carstensen said he wasn't sure. "We're all a little shaken, he said.
Jesse Black, general manager of Nyberg Locksmiths on Third Avenue diagonally across from the building, heard the shots and went to the sidewalk.
The cops yelled at him, "Get off the street because there's a sniper on the roof." He looked up and saw a figure in a white shirt on the rooftop.
Immediately after the shooting, a SWAT team searched the federation building for any other victims, anyone hiding or any other possible shooters, said police spokesman Rich Pruitt.
Police blocked off several city blocks to investigate. The suspect's vehicle was recovered near the shooting scene, Metz said. Police spent some time checking it for bombs before having it towed.
The federation issued a statement:
"Our federation colleagues so unmercifully and viciously attacked were spending their day as they normally do, providing for social and humanitarian services that benefited all of metropolitan Seattle. The hatred and violence visited upon them today offends the values that drove their work and passion for improving their neighbors' lives."
Early in July, Jewish non-profit organizations received more than half the federal homeland security grants to "harden" such "at-risk" non-profit groups against terrorist threats. Jewish groups received about $14 million of $25 million earmarked by Congress in 2005.
The federation building is known for its security, with gates and buzzers. Jacobs said the federation has an electronic security system that allows it to control access to the office. The shooter could not have simply entered the building unseen, said Anti-Defamation League leader Robert Jacobs.
The Muslim community in the region watched in horror as news broke of the shooting.
"We categorically condemn this and any similar acts of violence," the Council on American-Islamic Relations said in a joint statement with the Ithna-Ashari Muslim Association of the Northwest, the Muslim Association of Puget Sound, the Islamic Educational Center of Seattle, American Muslims of Puget Sound and the Arab American Community Coalition.
"We pray for the safety and health of those injured and offer our heartfelt condolences to the family of the victims of this attack. ... We refuse to see the violence in the Middle East spill over to our cities and neighborhoods. We reject and categorically condemn any attacks against the Jewish community and stand in solidarity with the Jewish Federation in this tragedy."
The Seattle City Council issued a statement Friday offering its condolences to the victims and their families.
"There is too much hate and violence in the world and we do not wish to bring it to Seattle," said council President Nick Licata in the statement.
Just hours before the shooting, Jacobs ate lunch with shooting victim Dayna Klein.
"She's just a wonderful, ebullient, energetic person," said Jacobs, ADL's Pacific Northwest regional director. "She heads up major gifts and development for the federation."
He called shooting victim Cheryl Stumbo, a non-Jewish Unitarian, "a warm, good human being. She really brought a tremendous understanding of marketing to the federation."
Iantha Sidell, past board chairman of the federation, went to Harborview after the shootings to lend her support.
"This is just a disaster," she said. "We value every life. I don't know what we're going to do about it. We believe in life."P-I reporters Brad Wong, John Iwasaki, Mike Barber, Kathy Mulady, Dan Richman and photographer Mike Urban contributed to this report. This report also contains material from The Associated Press.