They called themselves the “Crusaders” and had a clear purpose: launch an attack against Muslims that would lead to a “bloodbath.” With any luck that would help spark a religious war. But their plans were thwarted as three Kansas men were arrested on Friday for planning an attack on a Garden City, Kansas, apartment complex filled with Somali immigrants that is also home to a mosque. They planned to carry out the attack one day after the November election.
“They discussed obtaining four vehicles, filling them with explosives and parking them at the four corners of the apartment complex to create a large explosion,” the Department of Justice said.
“They chose the target location based on their hatred of these groups, their perception that these groups represent a threat to American society, a desire to inspire other militia groups, and a desire to ‘wake people up,’ ” according to the criminal complaint.
About 120 people live and worship in the apartment complex they planned to attack.
The three men—Curtis Allen and Gavin Wright, both 49, and Patrick Eugene Stein, 47—were charged in federal court with domestic terrorism following an eight-month investigation by the FBI that included a confidential informant. But police didn’t move to make the arrests until Allen’s girlfriend went to authorities after he allegedly hit her during an argument. She apparently showed authorities a large stash of weapons and said Allen was watching lots of videos on how to make explosives.
The complaint also notes that during one conversation Stein said that “the only fucking way this country’s ever going to get turned around is it will be a bloodbath and it will be a nasty, messy motherfucker. Unless a lot more people in this country wake up and smell the fucking coffee and decide they want this country back … we might be too late, if they do wake up … I think we can get it done. But it ain’t going to be nothing nice about it.” At one point Stein made it clear he was ready to kill babies: “When we go on operations there’s no leaving anyone behind, even if it’s a one-year old, I’m serious.”
Police say they found “close to a metric ton of ammunition in Allen’s residence,” which is what led authorities to believe the attack could be imminent. “These individuals had the desire, the means, the capability to carry out this act of domestic terrorism,” an FBI official said.
If convicted, the three men could face life in prison.
Following news of the plot, the Council on American-Islamic Relations called on law enforcement to boost protection for mosques and other Islamic institutions in the country. “We ask our nation’s political leaders, and particularly political candidates, to reject the growing Islamophobia in our nation,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. In a recent survey of Muslims carried out by CAIR, 85 percent said they thought Islamophobia and anti-Muslim sentiment in the United Sates was getting worse.
They’re hardly alone. “There has been an incredible increase in anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant sentiment over the past few years,” Heidi Beirich, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project, said. “Significantly, this anti-Muslim and anti-refugee sentiment is increasing within the ranks of the anti-government movement.”
The revelation of the terror plot “should serve as a warning to those who traffic in the politics of fear and bigotry,” Beirich added.