A terror suspect, who was shot dead Tuesday in Boston by police officers, was plotting to behead Pamela Geller, an activist and conservative blogger, who leads the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), CNN reported, citing sources. Geller came to national attention after an off-duty police officer foiled an attack last month against her organization’s "Draw Muhammad" event in Garland, Texas.
Usaamah Rahim, a 26-year-old radicalized security guard for CVS, had reportedly waved a large military knife at Boston police officers. The plot was allegedly part of a plan where Rahim and his alleged nephew, David Wright, planned to murder police officers, according to a recorded conversation obtained by the FBI. The two were also heard laughing about beheadings carried out by the Islamic State group.
Wright was arrested by police and appeared in a federal court in Boston on Wednesday, the Associated Press reported. He was ordered to be held on charge of conspiracy with intent to obstruct federal investigation. He had reportedly planned to destroy Rahim's smartphone and computer to remove evidence of the plot, the Daily Mail reported, adding that the charge could lead to a possible five-year sentence. The duo was also reportedly seen meeting an unidentified person on Sunday to discuss a plan to behead someone in another state.
"Yeah, I'm going to be on vacation right here in Massachusetts. ... I'm just going to, ah, go after them, those boys in blue. Cause, ah, it's the easiest target and, ah, the most common is the easiest for me," Rahim said, according to an affidavit written by an FBI agent assigned to Boston's Joint Terrorism Task Force that refers to the recording, according to the AP, which added that 'going on vacation' was a reference to committing violent jihad.
Rahim had also reportedly purchased three fighting knives, measuring longer than 8 inches, from Amazon.com and had told Wright about it, according to CNN. "I just got myself a nice little tool," Rahim reportedly said, according to the court documents, adding: "You know it's good for carving wood and ... carving sculptures."
The FBI report said, according to Daily Mail: "Later in the conversation, Wright told Rahim something was 'like thinking with your head on your chest,'" reportedly referring to the planned beheading.
Boston Police Commissioner William Evans said, citing the surveillance footage, that nearly five officers approached Rahim without their weapons drawn, but he came after them and got "close enough to cause imminent harm." After that, the officers pulled their weapons and fired at him.
"We never anticipated what his reaction would be and that he would pull out ... a military knife and approach the officers," Evans said, according to CNN, adding: "We believe he was a threat.
"He was someone we were watching for quite some time."
Rahim's death is being investigated by the Suffolk district attorney's office and the FBI, and is being closely monitored by the Council of American-Islamic Relations, the AP reported.
"We have a number of questions," Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council of American-Islamic Relations said, according to Daily Mail, adding: "Why exactly was he being followed? What was the probable cause for this particular stop?
"Were there any video cameras or body cameras of the incident? How do you reconcile the two versions of the story, the family version being that he was on his normal commute to work at a bus stop?"
Meanwhile, Geller said, according to CNN, after learning about the alleged plot: "They targeted me for violating Sharia blasphemy laws. They mean to kill everyone who doesn't do their bidding and abide by their law voluntarily," adding: "This is a showdown for American freedom. Will we stand against this savagery or bow down to them and silence ourselves?"
AFDI includes programs like Stop Islamization of America and Stop Islamization of Nations under its umbrella. Geller, who was threatened by ISIS in May, reportedly said that she appointed an “army of security” after the Texas attempt.
"This is what is required just to show a cartoon in America, 2015," she reportedly said, adding: "It's striking. It's devastating, and people need to understand what's at stake. I mean, if we surrender on this point, what will we surrender next?"