Suspect in court Tuesday
Here are a few of the excerpts from Little Rock homicide detective Tommy Hudson's report:
- "Mr. Muhammad stated that he was mad at the US Military"
- "Mr. Muhammad stated he fired several rounds at the soldiers with the intent to kill them" from arrest report released this morning
- "Mr. Muhammad further stated that he would have killed more soldiers if they had been on the parking lot."
Police call his actions domestic terrorism. The man charged with shooting two army soldiers, killing one of them, makes his first court appearance Tuesday. Abdulhakim Muhammad, 23, faces capital murder and 16 counts of a terroristic act. The FBI is also investigating this incident, which may result in additional federal charges and prosecution.
Muhammad didn't speak or show any emotion. It was just a 3-minute hearing revealing more into what motivated a recent convert to Islam to open fire on u-s soldiers.
There was stepped up security around the Little Rock district court building as police roped off parking areas and barricaded streets.
Muhammad faced a judge on 17 felony counts, including capital murder. Telling police in a taped interview he pulled up to the Army / Navy recruiting center on Rodney Parham looking to kill uniformed soldiers.
Muhammad appeared with his attorney, public defender Stephen Thomas.
"This will be a not guilty plea your honor," Thomas says.
District Judge Alice Lightle ordered Muhammad held at the county jail with no bond. And had Pulaski County deputy prosecutor Scott Duncan read from the interview Muhammad provided police.
"He stated he was a practicing Muslim mad at the United States military because of what they had done to Muslims in the past," Duncan said reading from the statement.
On the arrest report it says Muhammad worked for Twin City Tours. It was based out of a hotel at University Ave & I-630 until yesterday. Hotel management tells FOX16 News the company no longer has an office at that location. When we called the number on the back of the brochure, it forwarded to a Memphis office.
Court documents show police found an assault rifle in Muhammad's car and ammunition. Detectives also seized computers, cd's, a cell phone, a locked safe and Arabic written materials at his apartment on Mara Lynn in west Little Rock yesterday. Muhammad telling police he had recently viewed video pertaining to subversive activities which spurred him to commit the act.
"He additionally stated that he would have killed more soldiers if they had been on the parking lot," Duncan says.
Witness talks about shooting
Lance Luplow had just parked his car across the street when he heard the shots. "At least 6 or 7 good shots, loud bangs, big gun."
When he ran to the scene he found both soldiers on the ground in uniform and bleeding. One of them, Quinton Ezeagwula of Jacksonville, was still conscious and had been shot in the neck.
"The one guy was saying, 'I can't believe this is happening' and he crawled into the store," Luplow says. "And the other guy was sort of out of it. He just had a blank stare, just looking up at the sky. He wasn't moving or anything."
That soldier was 23-year-old William Long of Conway. He died an hour later.
Minutes after the shooting, Little Rock Police arrested Abdul Hakim Mujahid Muhammad, formerly known as Carlos Bledsoe. He faces a murder charge and 16 counts of terroristic acts.
Police say motive was religious beliefs
Little Rock police escorted Muhammad to the Pulaski County jail Monday night after charging him with murdering Pvt. Long and shooting Pvt. Ezeagwula at an Army-Navy career center Monday morning. He's also accused of shooting at everyone inside and around the building. "Personally, I didn't know William Long, but as any soldier, I am saddened it turned out this way," says Capt. Matthew Feehan.
Police caught up with Muhammad at the 630/30 interchange minutes after the shootings and arrested him. Police found three weapons in the truck and later searched Muhammad's apartment. "They’re called assault weapons for a reason, and, yes, it is disturbing that an individual with ill intent was in the community, but we believe he's been stopped,” says Little Rock Police Chief Stuart Thomas.
Muhammad moved to Little Rock within the past few months. Police say he didn't know the victims. "I think he was targeting military personnel, and these military personnel were in uniform at the military facility and that's how they became targets," says Thomas.
Little Rock police are confident there are no other suspects out there. "It was one individual, and one individual who acted alone on his belief, and it doesn't represent a broader conspiracy," explained Thomas.
Muhammad is in jail without bond. He is charged with murder and 16 counts of a terroristic act.
Pvt. Long, 23, was from Conway. He joined the military in January and finished basic training in February.
Pvt. Ezeagwula, 18, is from Jacksonville. He is still in the hospital, but is expected to recover.