ATF: Plot by skinheads to kill Obama is foiled
Two Neo-Nazis held in Tennessee; allegedly also planned to kill dozens
Oct. 27: Neo-Nazis said they had hatched a plot to kill Barack Obama and dozens of other African Americans. MSNBC’s David Shuster reports.
NBC News and news services
updated 32 minutes ago
WASHINGTON – A plot by two Neo-Nazi skinheads to assassinate Barack Obama and kill dozens of other African Americans has been foiled, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms said Monday.
Daniel Cowart, 20, of Bells, Tenn., and Paul Schlesselman, 18, of West Helena, Ark., were charged Friday with making threats against a presidential candidate, illegal possession of a sawed-off shotgun and conspiracy to rob a gun store.
Jim Cavanaugh, special agent in charge of the Nashville ATF field office, said the two men sought to go on a national killing spree that included an unnamed African-American school, with Obama as their final target.
The two planned to shoot 88 black people and decapitate another 14, he added. The numbers 88 and 14 are symbolic in the white supremacist community.
“They said that would be their last, final act — that they would attempt to kill Sen. Obama,” Cavanaugh said. “They didn’t believe they would be able to do it, but that they would get killed trying.”
Shooting from the windows
Court documents show that Cowart and Schlesselman said they "planned to drive their vehicle as fast as they could toward Obama shooting at him from the windows."
" Both individuals stated they would dress in all white tuxedos and wear top hats during the assassination attempt," the court complaint states.
Cavanaugh said there’s no evidence that others were willing to assist Cowart and Schlesselman with the plot.
He said authorities took the threats very seriously.
"They seemed determined to do it," Cavanaugh said. "Even if they were just to try it, it would be a trail of tears around the South.
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The two men were arrested in Crockett County, Tenn., and have already made a court appearance.
The plot unraveled when one of the men was arrested on other charges and in the course of interviews he revealed plans for the plot.
According to court records, the pair discussed robbing a gun shop in order to gather weapons and ammunition to use in a "killing spree."
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