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Alleged Florida Mosque Bomber Shot Dead by Authorities

By Mark Potok on May 5, 2011 - 3:15 pm, Posted in Anti-Muslim, Extremist Crime

The man wanted for the bombing of a Jacksonville, Fla., mosque almost a year ago was shot and killed Wednesday at an Oklahoma campsite after he drew a weapon on federal and state law enforcement officials who were trying to arrest him.

Sandlin Matthews Smith, 46, was charged with setting off a pipe bomb at the rear entrance of the Islamic Center of Northeast Florida on May 10, 2010. No one was injured in the bombing, which was the first of a series of incidents that signaled a renewed wave of Islamophobia, the first since shortly after 9/11.

Surveillance videotape from the mosque showed a white man setting the bomb, but not clearly enough to easily identify him. The FBI received information from an unknown person identifying Smith just late last month.

FBI agents were tipped off to the man’s location in a tent at Glass Mountain State Park in northwest Oklahoma late Tuesday. FBI agents and other law enforcement officers blocked off the area overnight and then approached the man around midday on Wednesday. Officials said he drew a weapon when they asked him to surrender and he was shot and killed.

In an affidavit, an FBI agent describes how Smith’s marriage was falling apart, and how he allegedly told people close that he was angry at Muslims. “The reason he bombed the mosque was because he was angry about our men going overseas, fighting and dying,” the affidavit said. It also described how Smith had recently told other friends that he had bombed the mosque and that the “feds” were after him. He threatened one person with a gun, but then relented and began to cry.

The affidavit also described how Smith’s troubles began when he fell out of a tree in November 2009 and broke both legs. He was given methadone and other painkillers and began to act strangely, his wife told the FBI. In late April 2010, he and his wife had an argument and he left the house, moving from the Jacksonville area to St. Johns, Fla. He left that dwelling in recent days.

  • Louis Stouch

    Hmmmm. Today, from MSNBC, more islamophobia at work: (Note the 2 priests.)

    US Charges Six with Supporting Taliban

    MIAMA — Six people in Florida and Pakistan have been charged with providing financing and material support to the Pakistani Taliban, a designated foreign terrorist organization, U.S. federal officials said on Saturday.
    The indictment was announced by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida and local FBI agents at a time when relations with Pakistan are strained over the raid that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.
    Three of the accused, who are all originally from Pakistan, were U.S. citizens arrested in South Florida and Los Angeles. They include two Imans, or Muslim religious leaders, from mosques in Florida.

  • Louis Stouch

    He is on the other hand exactly comparable to Major Hassan Nadal, the Ft. Hood (I think, maybe Sam Houston) shooter. Excepting the fact that Nadals was a much much more deadly attack.

  • Albertina Andracke

    “Jerks” to describe right wing religious and/or violent, dysfunctional, intolerant people is a kind term. True, Osama bin Laden and his cronies are far beyond “jerks”. Nevertheless, they do share some characteristics, but on different levels of intensity and extension of effect. Thankfully there are SPLC and other groups and individuals working very hard to relegate hate and prejudice, from whatever cause, to the gutter. It’s a long road, with true education (not propaganda) and mixing-it-up being the solution. The more we ‘know’ each other, the better we may understand and tolerate each other. Only then may we successfully work on the toxification of the planet brought on by the money-mongers who take advantage of all of us and all living creatures, even including their own health and sustainability. Go figure.

  • Louis Stouch

    I hardly think this jerk is comparable to osama bin laden.

  • Tanbiker

    First Osama bin Laden, then this jerk. Let’s hope lots more domestic wannabe terrorists follow in their footsteps soon.

  • Louis Stouch

    Ryan, Judas, what were your thoughts on the killing of bin Laden?

  • jenwren

    I agree with Russ.
    If everyone’s upbringing supplied plenty of evidence and practical examples of natural morality and spirituality, and no lessons on how to be ignorant and/or cynical, we would not have these sad lives replicating other ones all over the planet.

  • Russ

    All human life has value!! This is a sad tale all the way around!

  • Todd

    Depression and mind altering drugs.
    Throw in your wife leaving you.

    Hey. I know. I’ll go bomb a mosque.
    Huh?

  • Judas

    Live by the sword…die by the sword

  • Ryan

    And nothing of value was lost.