ATF investigating 5th fire at Jehovah’s Witness centers in Washington this year



ATF investigating 5th fire at Jehovah’s Witness centers in Washington this year

PHOTO: The Kingdom Hall for Jehovahs Witnesses in Lacey, Wash., was completely destroyed by a fire on Friday, Dec. 7, 2018. Officials have ruled it an arson.KOMO
WATCH Suspected arsonist is targeting Jehovah’s Witnesses centers, police say

Federal authorities in Washington state are investigating the latest in a troubling series of arson cases at worship halls for Jehovah’s Witnesses.

The latest fire broke out Friday at a Kingdom Hall for Jehovah’s Witnesses in Lacey, Washington, completely destroying the building. The Seattle branch of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) ruled the fire an arson on Saturday. The fire broke out at about 3:30 a.m. and no one was in the building at the time, the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office said.

The fire was the fifth at a Kingdom Hall in Thurston County this year, according to the ATF. All of the cases remain unsolved.

PHOTO: The Kingdom Hall for Jehovahs Witnesses in Lacey, Wash., was completely destroyed by a fire on Friday, Dec. 7, 2018. Officials have ruled it an arson.KOMO
The Kingdom Hall for Jehovah’s Witnesses in Lacey, Wash., was completely destroyed by a fire on Friday, Dec. 7, 2018. Officials have ruled it an arson.more +

“Why is this specific religion being targeted? Why are these churches being targeted? What are they doing that is so wrong and oppressive?” Thurston County Sheriff John Snaza told Seattle ABC affiliate KOMO.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee responded to the latest arson on Friday, calling it an “abhorrent act.”

Governor Jay Inslee


The freedom to worship is a right that should be protected for every person in our country. Our thoughts are with the members of our community affected by this abhorrent act.

KING 5 News


The Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Lacey was destroyed Friday morning by a fire that detectives call suspicious. 

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The most recent fire before Friday’s was on Aug. 8 when someone attempted to burn down a Kingdom Hall in Yelm, Washington, about 15 miles southeast of Lacey. There was minimal damage, but police also found a dummy device designed to look like an explosive. Someone opened fire on that same hall in May, spraying it with 35 rounds and causing $10,000 in damage, according to KOMO.

On March 19, fires were started at Kingdom Halls in Olympia and Tumwater. Tumwater and Olympia are only 3 miles apart. Police released surveillance video at the time showing a man at the Tumwater center dressed in jeans and a navy blue hoodie pouring gasoline from a gallon jug and then lighting it on fire.

After suffering minor damage in March, the Olympia Kingdom Hall was destroyed by a second fire in July.

PHOTO: Someone set a small fire and left a fake bomb at a Jehovahs Witness hall in Yelm, Wash., on Aug. 8, 2018. The case was part of a series of fires and attacks at Kingdom Halls.KOMO
Someone set a small fire and left a fake bomb at a Jehovah’s Witness hall in Yelm, Wash., on Aug. 8, 2018. The case was part of a series of fires and attacks at Kingdom Halls.more +

No one has been injured in any of the incidents, all of which have occurred in the early morning hours when no one was inside the buildings.

The ATF announced in July it has connected the arson cases in Yelm, Olympia and Tumwater — as well as the shooting in Yelm. It’s not yet clear if Friday’s fire is also connected.

“ATF is doing everything in its utmost power to contribute to solving this crime with our partners in Thurston County,” ATF special agent-in-charge Jonathan Blais told KOMO.

The ATF is offering a combined $36,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest of a suspect.

ABC News’ Matthew Fuhrman and Amanda Maile contributed to this report.

Multiple people shot at Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis



Multiple people shot at Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis

A shooting has occurred at the Capital Gazette in Anne Arundel County, a paper that is owned by The Baltimore Sun, according to reports from Gazette staff.

Anne Arundel County Police confirmed there was an “active shooter” at 888 Bestgate Road, where the newspaper’s offices are located. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives confirmed it was responding to a “shooting incident” at the Gazette.

Phil Davis, a Gazette crime reporter who was there at the time of the shooting, said that multiple people had been shot. Police did not immediately respond to requests for further information.

“Gunman shot through the glass door to the office and opened fire on multiple employees. Can’t say much more and don’t want to declare anyone dead, but it’s bad,” Davis wrote on Twitter as he waited to be interviewed by police. “There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you’re under your desk and then hear the gunman reload.”

Police said the building was being evacuated as officers continue searching it.

Agents with the ATF were on the scene in Annapolis to provide support to local law enforcement, said Amanda Hils, a spokeswoman for the federal agency. ATF can help with tracing weapons, conducting interviews and other assistance.

Gov. Larry Hogan, on Twitter, wrote, “Absolutely devastated to learn of this tragedy in Annapolis.”

He said he was in contact with County Executive Steve Schuh, and that Maryland State Police were on the scene assisting county police.

“Please, heed all warnings and stay away from the area. Praying for those at the scene and for our community,” he wrote.

Sen. Chris Van Hollen wrote on Twitter, “My heart is with the families, friends, and loved ones of the victims as we learn more about this terrible situation. We must unite to end the violence.”

Police were also at The Baltimore Sun newsroom in Baltimore. Police said there was no threat on the Sun, and that their presence was a precaution.

This story will be updated.

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Pair charged in explosive device at elementary school; planned to shoot cops, start race war


Pair charged in explosive device at elementary school; planned to shoot cops, start race war

Bomb Suspects.jpg
Zachary Edwards and Raphel Dilligard (Trussville Police)
By Carol Robinson | [email protected]
Email the author | Follow on Twitter
on November 23, 2016 at 12:31 PM, updated November 24, 2016 at 7:08 AM
A convicted felon who claims he wanted to shoot cops is behind bars in connection with the explosives device planted outside of a Trussville elementary school.

Authorities today announced state charges against 35-year-old Zachary Edwards and 34-year-old Raphel Dilligard, both of eastern Birmingham. They are charged with possession of a hoax destructive device, rendering false alarm and making terrorist threats, said Trussville police Capt. Jeff Bridges.

The warrants were issued this morning after the week-long probe by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Trussville police, the Alabama State Fire Marshal’s Office, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.

Edwards claimed to be a member of the Black Panthers and the Black Mafia, but authorities have not yet confirmed his reported associations with any organized group. “My guys believe this individual to be a very dangerous person,” said Dave Hyche, ATF’s assistant special agent in charge in Alabama.

Lawmen responded en mass to Magnolia Elementary School on Wednesday, Nov. 16, after they received a 911 from a woman who reported seeing a Hispanic male place the package on a pickup truck that belonged to a school cafeteria worker. The package was a box with wires and timer attached.

“When we first saw what we had, we knew this was something to take serious and we put on the full-court press. It disturbed us from the start,” Hyche said. “I’ve never seen such a well-orchestrated and rapid response.”

Hyche today said the children and staff weren’t in any danger from the device, and even if it had been in working condition, it was on the far side of the school where there was no glass.

ATF, FBI on scene of suspicious device at Trussvile school

ATF, FBI on scene of suspicious device at Trussvile school

Teams of lawmen responded to Magnolia Elementary School after a device was found on a car in the school parking lot.

The first break in the case came when investigators were able to trace that 911 to a cell phone that had once been owned by Edwards, said Hyche and Bridges. The 911 call was actually placed by Edwards, who disguised his voice to try to sound like a woman.

Also, the timer – a stopwatch – used on the device was determined to have been sold at Wal-Mart, and Hyche said investigators then analyzed all 18 recent buyers in the area. They quickly eliminated those that would have a legitimate reason for needing a timer – like a track coach – that ultimately led them to the store in Irondale where a woman – later determined to be Dilligard – was seen on video surveillance buying the timer.

Edwards and Dilligard were taken into custody Tuesday evening at their home in the 7700 block of Fifth Avenue South.

Once brought in for questioning, both gave confessions. Edwards admitted to planting the device, and said his plan was to get all police officers and first responders in one place so he could shoot them. “I guess he doesn’t like cops,” Bridges said.

Edwards also talked of using the incident as a diversion so he could commit crimes elsewhere –  such as robbing a bank – while the police were tied up at the elementary school, but backed out of that plan.

“Probably because of the overwhelming response to the area,” Hyche said. “He wanted everybody in one place so he could kill cops. He made it clear to our guys he wanted to commit acts of violence. This arrest probably did stop something bad from happening.”

He discussed starting a race war, but authorities didn’t elaborate on what he said.

The device – which was disabled in nearby woods – did contain gun powder. “It was painstakingly put together and it also had most of what you need to make a bomb,” Hyche said. He said, however, that there was no way the device could have detonated, but he didn’t elaborate.

Hyche said numerous tips came in to the ATF tip line, many of which named Edwards as the person who left the device. “It was someone who knew him, and was afraid he was going to do something,” he said.

Edwards has a lengthy criminal record, including a 2000 conviction for second-degree assault. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison with three to serve in that case.

Both suspects are awaiting transport from Trussville to the Jefferson County Jail. Hyche said the investigation is ongoing and they could also face federal charges.

Updated at 2:06 p.m. to include information from a 1:30 p.m. press conference.

IED’s On Walking Trails In Kentucky?

(This article is courtesy of ‘Creeping Sharia’ news site.)

Kentucky: Iraqi Doctor Planted IED’s on Walking Trails, Killed After Altercation with Authorities

Or as his relatives posted, “martyred.”

Source: Man in custody killed trying to escape during officers’ search for explosives in woods


A man shot and killed during a confrontation with authorities Thursday night in Harlan County was previously accused of concealing explosives in trail cameras and putting them in the woods.

Mark Sawaf, 39, of Harlan had been indicted by a federal grand jury in July and was scheduled to go to trial on Sept. 13, according to court documents. He was ordered to remain in custody until trial and was indicted on eight charges, including owning and making unregistered destructive devices.

ATF had received information that Sawaf had placed more explosives in the woods and had gone with him to find them, Kentucky State Police Trooper Shane Jacobs said Friday. ATF asked Lexington police and fire officials for help because of “an expanded area” that needed to be searched and the scale of the operation, state police said. The state police hazardous devices unit was also asked to assist.

Sawaf died at the scene, according to state police and the Harlan County coroner’s office.

The group had found several trail cameras in the woods before the shooting, and bomb technicians searched the area Friday for more explosives, Jacobs said. Trail cameras are usually affixed to trees and are motion-activated to take photos of deer and other animals, but Sawaf allegedly had modified some with explosive material.

“It’s going to be a very big task for us to try to locate these trail cameras; it’s such a safety concern for individuals here in the Harlan community,” Jacobs said.

In May, a man lost multiple fingers and suffered injuries to his chest when a trail camera exploded, according to court documents. The man had gotten the cameras from someone who’d found them on a trail near Red Dog Road in Harlan County.

“The portrait the evidence paints of Sawaf is of a dangerously duplicitous individual — loving and caring to those who know him, but a secretive and anonymous explosives manufacturer whose devices are left for any hapless member of the public to find and trigger with serious resulting injuries,” according to the findings in the detention order.

Eric Perry, a team leader who worked with Sawaf, said Sawaf grew up in Michigan and moved to Harlan with his family after high school.

Sawaf got along with co-workers at the office, but did not associate with them outside work, Perry said.

Sawaf was extremely socially liberal and was an atheist — not mainstream views in Harlan, Perry said.

Before Sawaf’s June arrest, he had been investigated for using exploding targets, but it was determined that he was using the devices legally, according to court documents.

More than a decade before Sawaf’s arrest, his father, Ali Sawaf, was convicted on eight charges related to distribution of OxyContin and other painkillers. At the time of his conviction in 2002, Ali Sawaf was a urologist in Harlan County.

The case was one of the first in Eastern Kentucky against a doctor for over prescribing Oxycontin after abuse of the drug exploded in the region beginning in the late 1990s.

Was he really a liberal and an atheist? Not according to Sawaf’s father and other relatives who considered him a Muslim, via Muslim Doctor In The United States Designs Very Sophisticated IED Explosives And Places Them Under The Ground In Kentucky To Slaughter Random Americans.

Little scant coverage has been given to the story of doctor Mark Samir Sawaf. He was a LPCC psychotherapists in Kentucky USA. This was his public image. His private life was more sinister than you can imagine. What the media is not telling you about this case was that Sawaf was a Muslim and a terrorist before he was gunned down in Kentucky for an alleged crime. Samir Sawaf set up IED’s  and pipe bombs in Kentucky, USA. While his story gained local coverage in Kentucky, the reason is that the media forgot to tell the public that the family stems from Karbala, Iraq, the land of terrorism and IEDs, the Sawafs were welcomed to the land of ‘the candy shop’: USA.

It even gets more puzzling for westerners who are not able to sift things Muslim. The Sawafs are Shiites and these even hate ISIS. But even hating ISIS and hating Sunni terrorists does not immune a Muslim from being a lone-wolf. It matters nothing even if they drink or sleep around. Samir Sawaf had set up several explosives, not only in cameras, but also hidden PVC pipe bombs hidden and rigged with trip wires… Some were designed so they would explode when someone placed batteries inside; others were booby-trapped with a trip wire leading to the camera. Sawaf booby-trapped cameras like this one so they would explode when you put batteries in.

His actions were not classified as ‘terrorist’ since there was no evidence he belonged to ISIS or was ‘radicalized’ as they say. Sawaf after all was Shiite, not Sunni. Sawaf was arrested in June, the result of a joint investigation by federal and local law enforcement. He then tricked law enforcement to show them where he had set up his IEDs. They never recovered all of the IEDs and ATF found some of what he hid in the woods and sounded the alarms and issued a massive warnings to the public. Why they sent the warnings was simple; while on that trip back to Harlan County where police were hoping he would reveal the locations of any unexploded traps, he tried to grab an officer’s weapon in an attempt to escape and was ‘martyred’ in August.

Why do I say ‘martyred’? The media doesn’t tell you that his relatives back in Iraq say so. One family condolences to his father says:

“may Allah reside him with all the martyrs in heaven and increase your faith”.

He was to many in his family a ‘martyr’ not a criminal. His father, also a medical doctor, Ali Sawaf on September 3rd posted on his timeline in memory (in English of course) with his son’s photo and a rose that says (in Arabic of course): “O Allah. Islam is my religion”:

Ali Sawaf told WKYT that he didn’t see what the big deal was about his son planting bombs in the first place…

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