Monday, January 30, 2012

Video Suggests Military Shooter Motivated by Extremist Ideology

A video showing former Marine Corps reservist Yonathan Melaku shooting at military facilities in the fall of 2010 has been released by federal prosecutors. Melaku, who pleaded guilty to weapons violations and causing property damage to government facilities earlier this month, is shown wearing a mask and firing his gun at the National Museum of the Marine Corps while repeatedly chanting “Allahu Akbar” and saying “mission accomplished” with Islamic music playing in the background.

Melaku, a naturalized citizen originally from Ethiopia, was arrested on June 17, 2011, for trespassing in Arlington National Cemetery. Spent shell casings, a notebook that contained references to the Taliban, Al Qaeda and mujahideen, were found in his backpack at the time of his arrest, along with powder that was later confirmed to be ammonium nitrate, a substance which can be used in bombs.  Forensic analysis linked Melaku to a string of late night shooting attacks at the Pentagon, the National Museum of the Marine Corps, and two military recruiting centers in 2010.

Melaku’s comments in the video, along with the other evidence, suggest that his attacks were motivated by an extreme ideology that has motivated other attacks and plots against the U.S. military.

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