3 Suspects in Bombing of Minnesota Mosque Face Weapons Charges
Federal investigators on Tuesday arrested three rural IL men on a criminal gun complaint that also links them to an attempted bombing at a women's health clinic in Champaign and a mosque attack in Minnesota.
Prosecutors filed an affidavit detailing evidence they have against Michael Hari, 47, Joe Morris, 22, Michael McWhorter, 29, all from Clarence in eastern Ford County.
A fourth man, 18-year-old Ellis Mack, also faces the gun charge, but he was not identified as a suspect bombing or attempted bombing. All three hail from Clarence, a small rural community and it is still unclear why they targeted the specific Minnesota mosque more than 500 miles from where they reside.
Federal Bureau of Investigation notes showed that the motive behind this attack was to let Muslims know that they are not welcome in the United States and "to scare them away".
"A search warrant was also executed at a store/office owned by Hari, located at 100 S. Main Road in Clarence (Illinois.)" Even as officials in Illinois sorted through charges against the quartet, federal authorities in Bloomington, Minnesota, were announcing the mosque-related developments late Tuesday afternoon.
Four fully automatic weapons that met the federal definition for a machine gun were found by police at the home of McWhorter's brother, who told officers Hari and Morris had brought the weapons to his home several days earlier. The fire was extinguished by the sprinklers.
In this August 15, 2017 file photo, Law enforcement officials investigate an explosion at the Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, Minnesota.
McWhorter also allegedly admitted that the three men tried to bomb the abortion clinic on November 7, again renting a truck to carry out the attack. An explosive device was thrown through the clinic window but failed to detonate, prosecutors said.
"We'd like to thank and welcome the swift response to this unfortunate tragedy", said Jaylani Hussein with the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
"This is definitely a relief that this case is finally to conclusion and those assailants-slash-suspects are apprehended and no longer a threat to our community", Hussein said in a telephone interview Tuesday.
Mohamed Omar, executive director of the Muslim center serving Somalis, stated that at the time of the incident, "the mosque didn't receive any threats beforehand or claims of responsibility afterward".
The Islamic center in Bloomington houses not only a mosque, but also a religious school for children. There has been no news on whether the reward has been paid.
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