This item is available on the Militant Islam Monitor website, at http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/2772
March 17, 2007
Sulejman Talovic's Salt Lake City Murder Spree Was An Act Of Jihad
By Beila Rabinowitz and William A. Mayer
March 16, 2007 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - Facts have emerged in this case which prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the Bosnian Muslim immigrant's rampage at a Utah shopping mall, killing five people is a textbook study of a jihadist attack.
Just a day before the murders Talovic told his 17 year old Bosnian girlfriend Monika, with whom he had discussed marriage plans that he was involved in a dark plot.
"Something is going to happen tomorrow that you'll never be able to forgive me about" Talovic's girlfriend told the Salt Lake Times adding that "It was supposed be the happiest day of his life and that it could only happen once in a lifetime." [source Trolley Shooting: Even to the girl he loved, Talovic a mystery to the end, http://www.sltrib.com/news/ci_5431036]
Monica also revealed a "vision" that Talovic had while in Bosnia:
"One evening, "as the sun was falling," Talovic heard a horse outside of his family's home in Bare, where they lived after they left Talovici. He walked out and, standing before him was a white horse "with two beautiful eyes," he told Monika.
'And he said, 'Look,' and his aunt [who was also outside] couldn't see it there," Monika said. It was at that moment she knew he was a "good-souled" person.
"He thought of it as only 'good-souled people' could see happiness and goodness," she said."
Two of these points are extremely significant in understanding Talovic's motivation; his statement that the mall attack would be his "happiest day" and the invocation of the "white horse" motif, as both are tied to Islamic thinking regarding jihad.
According to the The West Point Combatting Terrorism Center's section on Islamic imagery, the meaning of the white horse symbol is directly related to jihad:
"The white horse is inextricably tied to conceptions of the prophet, martyrdom, and paradise (heaven). It is most often associated with the Prophet Muhammad's miraj or night journey to heaven, when the Prophet ascended to heaven on the back of a white horse. In this regard, the white horse most specifically evokes notions of the afterlife and the heavenly paradise awaiting pious Muslims (or jihadi martyrs) upon their death. White horses are also important in the Shiite tradition, in regards to their association with the aforementioned traditions and in regards to the Imam Husayn and his martyrdom at Karbala in the 7th century (where he is said to have ridden a white horse). Thus, in both Sunni and Shiite traditions, the white horse is strongly associated with martyrdom and the expectation of heavenly paradise. In the images selected, the white horses are associated with images of individual jihadi martyrs. Used in this manner, the white horse evokes the righteousness of these individuals' martyrdom, and reminds the audience that these men have been granted the martyr's promised reward of ascension to heavenly paradise. [source http://www.ctc.usma.edu/imagery_nature.asp#whitehorse]
Talovic's expression to his girlfriend that his killing spree would be the happiest day of his life is consistent with an understanding of the central function of jihad in Islam. It stands to reason that an incipient jihadist would regard the day of his "exploits" with great anticipation:
"There is perhaps no greater inspiration for jihadi activists than the belief that they will be rewarded for their sacrifice by being granted entrance into the garden (janna) of heavenly paradise. Symbols and images may allude to paradise indirectly or directly. The word used to indicate heaven, janna, also means "garden" and indicates the garden of paradise that awaits those Muslims who have lived particularly just, obedient, and pious lives. Janna is an important and well-developed notion in Islamic discourse. It is mentioned in the Koran and is often used to describe the rewards awaiting those Muslims who have died (or will die) as martyrs." [source http://www.ctc.usma.edu/imagery_warfare.asp]
Contrary to claims made by Talovic's family, his girlfriend stated that he had a contact at the local mosque, which is located immediately adjacent to the scene of Sulejman's carnage.
"I don't know if he was his friend, but he liked to talk to him" she said. They only saw each other at services in the mosque. They only saw each other like three or four times."
Sulejman's father's continued insistence that someone put his son up to the killings [while denying his son's had any friends at the mosque] seem to be an effort to shield the Al Noor Masjid from law enforcement scrutiny.
It is becoming increasingly clear that Talovic's family has been less than forthcoming about his level of Islamic observance and other details of his life, to the point of Sulejman's family even denying that their son owned any guns. [source http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/2732]
Such a contention flies in the face of the fact that two of Talovics cousins told the Salt Lake City Tribune that they had seen the shotgun and revolver in the basement of the family home, together with the backpack and ammunition used on the rampage and that they had even handled the weapons fully six weeks before the attack. [source http://www.sltrib.com/ci_5439745]
The reason for this obfuscation seems clear at this point, the shootings at the Trolley Square Mall were the result of Muslim terrorism, a premeditated act of jihad by Sulejman Talovic.
Additionally, it appears that the Talovic family is not unfamiliar with acts of domestic jihad. A March 5, 2002 article in the New York Times details how the cousin of Sulejman's Amir Omerovic has admitted to participating in threats to spread anthrax.
"A man pleaded guilty yesterday to mailing letters falsely threatening to infect their recipients with anthrax. The defendant, Amir Omerovic, a 28-year-old naturalized citizen from Bosnia now living in Derby, admitted in Federal District Court that in late October he sent such letters to the offices of Gov. John G. Rowland, the United States Coast Guard and Marines in Connecticut, and the Judicial Review Council in Hartford. [source http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9903E4D61730F936A35750C0A9649C8B63]
Based on these facts law enforcement must quit denying what is now obvious and start re-investigating this matter for what it is, an example of domestic terrorism.
Talovic's family and the surrounding Salt Lake City Bosnian/Muslim community have engaged in a campaign of disinformation indicating that they may be witholding vital information from law enforcement.
The public must demand a full inquiry, including a full investigation into the Al Noor Mosque.
The family's obviously still strong ties to Bosnia also warrant a thorough probing, as do the jihadi websites which have been reported as having received considerable traffic from Utah based Muslims.
If Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson and Police Chief Chris Burbank are really concerned about serving the public interest they should cease the multicultural farce in which they are currently engaged[displaying dhimmi levels of "solidarity" with the local Bosnian Muslim communities along the way] and spend more time trying to ascertain if there are more Sulejman Talovics among them, since it is now evident that his murderous rage was entirely consistent with an act of jihad.
MIM: The article below of an interview with Police Chief Chris Burbank appeared a day after the article above was published in Pipeline News. It seems to be an attempt to refute any claims of Jihad. Note that the words terrorism and Islam are not mentioned and the journalist effectively apologise for mentioning that Talovics was a Muslim by explaining that he only did so to clarify a part of his story.
For a rebuttal of the article below and more proof that what the Chief Burbank calls "suicide by cop" is actually martyrdom see: "Salt Lake City law enforcement continues to deny Talovic shooting motive was jihad -calls it "suicide by cop" instead of martyrdom"
Deseret Morning News, Saturday, March 17, 2007
Talovic motive a death wish?
Copyright 2007 Deseret Morning News
By Ben Winslow
Deseret Morning News
Sulejman Talovic may have had a death wish.
The chief acknowledged it is possible that Talovic wanted to commit "suicide by cop."
"I don't know," he sighed. "That's one of those things that may just rest with him."
Another answer Talovic may also have taken to his grave is why he killed five people and wounded four others in a murderous rampage through the Trolley Square mall on Feb. 12. In an extensive interview Friday with the Deseret Morning News, Burbank said investigators are struggling to find any answers.
"Maybe we won't learn what the motive was," he said.
That doesn't mean detectives aren't trying. Police continue to question those who knew the 18-year-old Talovic in hopes of learning something about him that gives them insight into what set him off. So far, they have come up with nothing.
"We're looking at all those things," Burbank said. "We're not finding he had access to computers, not finding that's an influence in his life. We're looking at the whole Bosnian connection, not finding anything there. His religion ... nothing's coming to the forefront."
Police have also found nothing to indicate he had any connection to a gang, he said.
Even Talovic's own family is struggling for answers.
"No, I no have anything," an exasperated Suljo Talovic, his father, said in broken English. "Nothing. Nobody tell anything."
Profile of a killer
The chief said investigators are assembling a profile of the young man, drawing upon what little physical evidence they have and interviews with those who knew the killer.
Law enforcement agencies have contributed what they have been able to glean about Talovic. Burbank said it includes information about his guns, his relationships, his life and his life history in the United States and Bosnia, where he was born.
While the chief would not reveal much, the profile appears to show a loner who didn't have much going for him.
"Not a lot of friends," Burbank said. "He went to work and did his thing. He wasn't real active anywhere. He wasn't anyone who had friends anywhere. Nobody that we've found has had significant input in his life that would have caused this, or anyone who would have told us why he did what he did."
Even the person who appears to be his closest confidant — a 17-year-old girl in Amarillo, Texas, named Monika — is baffled.
"He never told me about hurting nothing," she said. "I mean, he was nice to everybody."
Monika (who asked the Deseret Morning News not to use her last name) was introduced to Talovic over the phone. Their lengthy conversations grew into a sort-of "relationship." She spoke to him the night before the shooting, when he told her she would be mad at him the next day.
"And I was like, 'So what does it involve?' He goes, 'It involves everything but you,"' she recalled.
Others have also provided little about the young man who grew up in war-torn Bosnia and emigrated to the United States, where it appears he struggled to fit in. Some describe a "nice boy" who desperately wanted to be social and belong. Some say he had a history of violence, including trouble as a juvenile. His co-workers at Aramark Uniform Services said he would keep his head down, do his job rolling freshly laundered floor mats and leave.
The FBI said Talovic really left nothing behind for their experts to look at for a psychological profile.
"There really has been no written documentation that the subject left behind to be analyzed," FBI Special Agent Scott Wall said.
Talovic walked into Trolley Square armed with a 12-gauge shotgun and a .38-caliber handgun, wearing a backpack full of ammunition and a bandolier of shotgun shells around his waist.
Asked to provide a timeline for the events of the shooting, Burbank told the Deseret Morning News the killing spree lasted only three minutes.
The entire event lasted about seven minutes, police believe. Within the first three minutes, Talovic shot and killed Jeffrey Walker, 52, and wounded his 16-year-old son Alan "AJ" Walker in the parking terrace. Outside the mall's west doors, he wounded Shawn Munns, 34.
Talovic killed Vanessa Quinn, 29, outside the mall's Bath and Body Works store. Moving into the Cabin Fever card and novelty shop, he killed Teresa Ellis, 29; Brad Frantz, 24; and Kirsten Hinckley, 15. Hinckley's mother, Carolyn Tuft, 44, was wounded. So was Stacy Hanson, 53, who remains hospitalized in fair condition.
"In about three minutes he was able to cause all that destruction," the police chief said.
After three minutes, Burbank said Talovic encountered Ken Hammond. The off-duty Ogden police officer had just finished dinner with his wife at the Rodizio Grill when the shots were fired. He engaged Talovic in a shootout.
"He's walking through the mall and he's now distracted," Burbank said. "He's no longer actively looking for people. He's shooting at the officer."
As panicked shoppers made 911 calls and hid in fear, Salt Lake City police officers nearby responded. Salt Lake City Police Sgt. Andy Oblad raced inside the mall toward the gunfire. He was joined by Hammond and three more officers. Even more officers were on their way into the mall behind them.
Talovic was inside the Pottery Barn Kids store when the officers confronted him. He fired on them in the hallway, taking cover behind a door.
"I couldn't believe this was actually happening," Salt Lake City Police Sgt. Josh Scharman said in an interview earlier this month. "How do you get to this?"
When pressed in the interview, Burbank revealed to the Deseret Morning News Talovic's final words to one of the officers before he died in the shootout with police: "F--- you." It was not, he said, a religious utterance as some have claimed (for Talovic was Muslim).
The Salt Lake City Police Department has reviewed the shooting and concluded that the officers did everything properly. The chief hailed his officers for their bravery. He said they ran into the gunfire, even as some 911 callers claimed there was a second gunman.
"When you look at it, seconds matter," the chief said. "Had he (Talovic) walked about 25 feet down the hallway, that may have been more people."
Burbank said he is proud of how all of his officers responded that night and afterward. Employees all over the department have been impacted and have expressed feelings of remorse or wondering if they could have saved another life.
The officers involved in the shooting have undergone many debriefings and met with counselors. While they are coming through it just fine, Burbank said it still has an impact.
"Our officers had to shoot and kill an 18-year-old kid to stop him from doing this," he said.
Suljo Talovic said his family is still hurting from the loss of their son and everyone else in the shooting. The Talovics buried their son in Bosnia.
"My wife sick. My kids sick, everybody almost sick," he said. "Myself inside, I feeling bad. I broken heart."
The Salt Lake City Police Department and the FBI hope to release some of their findings into the Trolley Square massacre soon.
Burbank said he plans to release a report based upon what evidence and interviews investigators have exhausted.
"For the sake of victims and all the people who have questions," he said.
Before that report is released there is still much to be gathered. Investigators are still questioning people and tracing the guns that Talovic used.
Police said the shotgun was purchased legally. The handgun was not.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is still trying to trace the handgun. ATF agents have told the Deseret Morning News it was initially purchased out of state and changed hands several times. Burbank said police are still running down leads, including looking into some tips that Talovic may have been seen at local shooting ranges.
Items detectives seized from Talovic's car and home have given them no answers.
"We seized everything we could under the premise that in similar circumstances there are things like videos, books, writings, those type of things," Burbank said. "We've kind of come up with a dead end on that portion."
Police and FBI agents are relying heavily on interviews to help them reach any conclusions. Burbank acknowledged even those are providing little new information.
"It is a little frustrating. You would think that if somebody is going to do something that drastic, there would be some significant tell-tale signs of why he would do what he did," he said.
At some point, the chief said investigators will draw every conclusion they're able to and release the results. While the case will be technically closed, Burbank said detectives will still keep an open mind to any clues that lead them to a motive.
"He is a young man that was obviously disturbed," Burbank said. "That's apparent by his actions."
This item is available on the Militant Islam Monitor website, at http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/2772