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Guns and Kiddie Porn Figure in Recent Gun-Related Arrest

Posted on the 29 July 2011 by Mikeb302000
Thank goodness the staff of the store where the purchases were made wised up, after the last Fort Hood shooter (alleged) did his shopping there too.  I usually find that the local media tends to provide the best coverage of these stories.
from the Austin Texas Statesman:
By Jeremy Schwartz, Tony Plohetski and Miguel Liscano Updated: 6:33 a.m. Friday, July 29, 2011
Published: 10:08 p.m. Thursday, July 28, 2011

KILLEEN — An AWOL soldier fleeing child pornography charges was planning a potentially deadly attack on Fort Hood soldiers before he was arrested, investigators and officials said Thursday.
Pfc. Naser Jason Abdo, who was most recently posted at Fort Campbell in Kentucky, was expected to face federal explosives charges after Killeen police found explosive materials and other weapons inside his room at a budget motel just blocks from Fort Hood, according to federal and local authorities.
Abdo planned to detonate bombs at a popular downtown Killeen restaurant and then shoot survivors, according to law enforcement documents first reported by ABC News and confirmed by a military official with knowledge of the investigation.
Abdo was arrested Wednesday on the pornography charge and for being AWOL after a tip from a suspicious clerk at the Guns Galore firearms shop. The clerk alerted police after Abdo on Tuesday bought six one-pound containers of smokeless gunpowder, three boxes of 12-gauge shotgun shells and a spare magazine for a semi-automatic handgun.
"His questions suggested he really didn't know what he was buying," said clerk Greg Ebert, a former police officer.
Guns Galore is the same store where Maj. Nidal Hasan purchased the gun, ammunition and laser sights that witnesses testified he used during the Nov. 5, 2009, shooting massacre at Fort Hood that left 13 dead.
After Abdo paid in cash and left in a taxi, Ebert said he called Killeen police and gave them a description of Abdo, who did not need to provide identification for the items he bought.
Officials said Abdo planned to use the items to kill military personnel. An article on "how to make a bomb in your kitchen" from the English-language al Qaeda magazine Inspire was among the items found in Abdo's motel room, a law enforcement official told The New York Times.
"I would classify it as a terror plot," Killeen Police Chief Dennis Baldwin said. "We would probably be here today giving you a different briefing if he had not been stopped."
Local and federal authorities said Abdo was acting alone. "The threat that he posed is now resolved," FBI spokesman Eric Vasys said. "We don't have any indication that there is any continued threat to the community."
Abdo, whose hometown is Garland in North Texas, joined the Army in 2009 and soon began a high profile fight with Army officials at Fort Campbell for conscientious objector status based on his Muslim faith. Abdo, an infantryman in the 101st Airborne Division, gave numerous interviews and set up a website to publicize his battle. In August 2010, Abdo told ABC News that "no Muslim should serve in the U.S. military" and refused to deploy to Afghanistan, saying, "A Muslim is not allowed to participate in an Islamicly unjust war." He told CNN that his faith prevented him from taking up arms. "I don't believe that Islam allows me to operate in any kind of warfare at all," he said.
According to a biography on a "Free Nasser Abdo" Facebook page, Abdo's father is Muslim and his mother Christian, and he wasn't particularly religious during his childhood.
"In his late teens, PFC Abdo reclaimed his Muslim faith and began to practice his faith as a Muslim," the biography reads. "As someone who was fairly new to practicing the Islamic faith, he struggled to navigate the moral issues of living in a largely non-Muslim society."
In his application for conscientious objector status, Abdo wrote that he worried "military orders given to me may cause me to lead a life that my god would be unhappy with."
The Army initially rejected his petition, but a subsequent panel granted his request in May. But shortly before he was scheduled to be discharged, Army officials brought child pornography charges against him, saying that 34 illegal images had been found on his government computer. At the time, Abdo told The Associated Press that he believed he was being targeted because of his conscientious objector status and said he used the computer to learn Pashto, a language spoken in Afghanistan and Pakistan. His attorney, James Branum, told the AP that other people had access to the computer after Abdo turned it in to the military.
Abdo underwent an Article 32 pre-trial hearing, after which an investigating officer recommended a general court-martial. But before the trial began, Abdo left Fort Campbell without permission and was listed July 4 as AWOL.
Elected officials were quick Thursday to praise the work of local law enforcement and Guns Galore in helping avoid another episode of bloodshed in an area still healing from the 2009 shooting massacre at a medical processing center that left 13 people dead. Hasan's court-martial, in which he will face the death penalty, is scheduled to begin in March.
U.S. Rep. John Carter said quick action by Guns Galore employees this time "may well have averted a repeat of the tragic 2009 radical Islamic terror attack on our nation's largest military installation."
It wasn't the first time the gun shop had helped stymie crime since Hasan purchased his weaponry there. In December, information from Guns Galore employees helped federal agents bust a gunrunning ring in which straw purchasers sold assault-style firearms to Mexican drug cartels.
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, also lauded the arrest. "Yesterday's incident is yet another reminder that we must stay vigilant against those who wish to attack innocent Americans," Cornyn said in a statement.
Baldwin, the Killeen police chief, said the arrest probably averted another traumatic moment for Killeen, which also suffered through a mass shooting at a Luby's restaurant in 1991 that left more than 20 dead.
Abdo "is a very dangerous individual, and he is where he needs to be," Baldwin said.
[email protected];
AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF

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