Four Illinois men have been arrested on federal gun and arson charges and authorities say three of them are suspected of taking part in the bombing and attempted bombing of a Minnesota mosque and an Illinois women’s health center last year. No one was injured in either incident.
Michael Hari, 47, a former sheriff’s deputy who was convicted of kidnapping his daughters and taking them to a Mennonite community in Central America more than 10 years ago, is accused of being the leader of a group that also includes Joe Morris, 22; Michael McWhorter, 29; and Ellis Mack, 18, all of Clarence, Illinois.
The four men were charged Tuesday with possession of a machine gun in Illinois, federal prosecutors there say. Hari, McWhorter and Mack were also charged with arson, according to the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota. Mack, who is McWhorter’s stepson, is not facing charges in connection to the bombing and attempted bombing.
Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton called the bombing at the Bloomington mosque, the Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center, an act of terrorism. In the Indiana incident, authorities say a pipe bomb was found thrown through a window into a surgical room at the women’s health center, but it did not detonate.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. McWhorter Told the FBI the Men Wanted to ‘Scare’ Muslims Out of the Country & the Bombing Was Meant to Show Them ‘Hey, You’re Not Welcome Here, Get the F*ck Out’
The FBI has connected Michael Hari, Mark McWhorter and Joe Morris to the bombing of the Dar Al Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, Minnesota, on August 5, 2017, and the attempted bombing of the Women’s Health Practice in Champaign, Illinois, on November 7, 2017, according to court documents.
According to the FBI, an explosive device was thrown through the window of the mosque about 5 a.m. Five people were inside the building, but none were injured, though the blast did cause extensive damage. A witness said he exited the mosque after prayer and heard glass breaking while walking to his car. He looked up and saw a man running from the building to a truck. He then saw the truck leaving at a high rate of speed. The explosion was captured on security cameras inside the building.
On November 7, an employee of the Women’s Health Practice said she went to work and found a broken window, glass on the floor and a device, which appeared to be an explosive device, on the inside of a surgical room. The Women’s Health Practice provides women’s medical services, including abortions, the FBI said. Police responded and the device, a “segment of PVC pipe with a plastic cap on one end and duct tape over the other end, was rendered safe. Inside the device was thermite, a pyrotechnic compound, along with a magnesium strip. Investigators believe the device was designed to burn and noted it was located in a surgical room that contained oxygen tanks.
Investigators …read more