KILLEEN (CBSDFW.COM/AP) - The soldier who stands accused of plotting an attack at Fort Hood was defiant during his first court appearance in a Waco federal court on Friday, yelling out names, locations and years, and refusing to follow the judge’s instructions.
Federal prosecutors have officially charged 21-year-old Pfc. Naser Abdo with possessing an illegal firearm – a charge meant primarily to hold the Garland native so that he cannot do any harm. After entering the courtoom on Friday morning, Abdo refused to stand for Judge Jeffrey C. Mankse. Federal marshals physically forced the accused to his feet.
As Abdo left the courtroom, he turned to the media and yelled out “Nidal Hasan Fort Hood 2009” and “Abeer Qassim al-Janabi Iraq 2006.” Hasan is the man charged with killing 13 people in the worst mass shooting ever on a U.S. military installation. al-Janabi was the 14-year-old girl who was raped and murdered by U.S. soldiers in Iraq.
Abdo was arrested on Wednesday. Authorities said that the soldier, who had been at Fort Campbell in Kentucky, stashed bomb-making materials and other weapons inside of his motel room near Fort Hood’s main gate. Included in the room were shotgun shells, spools of wire, bottles of smokeless gunpowder, clocks, an electric drill, pressure cookers and an article entitled “Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom.”
According to the criminal complaint, Abdo intended to use the materials to build and then detonate two devices inside of a restaurant frequently visited by Fort Hood soldiers. The Garland native told police that he wanted to attack Army soldiers outside of the post, U.S. Army spokesman Troy Rolan said.
Congressman John Carter, whose district includes Fort Hood, told Killeen’s CBS affiliate (KWTX-TV) that Abdo “was planning on going into a restaurant, someplace that was heavily traveled by soldiers, set off two bombs, then come back in and finish everybody off with his gun.”
Carter said that Abdo was in the process of “cooking” the bombs at the time of his arrest. There is no evidence to suggest that Abdo was directly in touch with a known terrorist organization.
Abdo allegedly told arresting officers that he was “seeking retaliation for what the Army did to me.” Earlier in the year, the Army charged Abdo – a member of the 101st Airborne Division — with possession of child pornography.
The Muslim infantry soldier had been granted conscientious objector status earlier in the year, after saying that his religious beliefs would prevent him from fighting in a war. That discharge was delayed after the child pornography charge. An Article 32 military hearing last month recommended Abdo for a court martial. He said that he thought he had been charged with the crime because he was seeking to leave the Army.
Abdo had been listed as AWOL since the July 4 weekend, moving around from a number of different motels. It is not clear how long he had been staying at the motel where he was arrested.
Abdo had attended ninth grade at South Garland High School before moving to the Waco area. Friends and family members remember Abdo working as an Army recruiter in the Garland area, but said that he mostly kept to himself.
Abdo is being held in the McLennan County Detention Center in Waco. His next appearance in federal court is set for August 4.
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