The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

July 16, 2012

VIDEO: FBI, ATF offer $15,000 reward for information leading to man who set mosque fire

Video released to help public identify suspect

JOPLIN, Mo. — The FBI and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are offering a $15,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for the July 4 fire at the Islamic Center of Joplin mosque.

The reward is composed of $10,000 from the FBI and $5,000 from the ATF.

To help solicit information, the agencies released surveillance video from the mosque fire. Previously only a still photograph taken from the video had been released.

The fire, about 3:30 a.m. on July 4, caused minor damage to the roof and there were no injuries. Someone driving by reported the fire before it could spread.

Eric Jackson, acting special agent in charge of the FBI’s Kansas City division, said the FBI takes attacks against all religious institutions and houses of worship seriously.

“The reason that we’re offering this reward is that since this incident occurred the morning of the Fourth, a number of leads have been run out by the local sheriff’s department, and FBI and ATF, and at this point, those leads have started to dry up,” Jackson said. “What we want to do is bring this to the attention of the public and gain the assistance of the public in helping us to identify who this individual is.”

Jasper County Sheriff Archie Dunn asked residents to call in even if they suspect something.

The video shows a man walking casually toward the mosque from the north. The mosque’s flagpole is seen in the video. The man is wearing a long-sleeved, dark-colored shirt. He is carrying an item the size of a backpack in his left hand. The package has a long, thick fuse attached to it, hanging from the bottom of the package. The man lights the fuse with his right hand and tosses the package on the roof of the mosque with his left hand. The man is shown running to the east, through the mosque parking lot.

The authorities at the news conference wouldn’t say what material was ignited.

Dunn asked viewers to make note of the man’s short gait.

“He does seem to have an unusual running style,” Dunn said. “I would ask that you pay attention to that. That could be a characteristic to identify somebody with. He doesn’t run like a sprinter.”

Authorities said the man’s clothing, including the long-sleeved shirt, could help someone to identify the man.

“Somebody in this area’s going to know this guy — no doubt about it,” said Josh Nixon, supervising agent at the Joplin FBI office. “If we can just get them to call. That’s what we need.”

Jackson said the FBI’s facial recognition software wasn’t successful in identifying the man in the video. The video also will be taken to an FBI lab to try to further enhance the images.

Dunn repeated that no determination has been made about whether the crime will be prosecuted as a federal hate crime until a suspect is arrested and his motivation is determined.

“We’re going to investigate the case,” Nixon said. “If it’s determined that a federal crime has been committed, we’ll pursue a federal prosecution.”

Donald Higgerson, resident agent in charge of the ATF Springfield office, said other federal statutes may also apply, which may allow for federal prosecution.

Jackson said investigators have no indication that the individual in the video had any assistance from anyone else.

Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization in Washington, D.C., welcomed the news when reached by phone. CAIR had issued a news release after the fire asking that it be investigated as a possible hate crime.

“I think this is an indication that the FBI and local law enforcement are taking this seriously, and we appreciate it,” Hooper said.

He said he hopes the reward and the video will motivate people to call with information.

“In these cases, usually somebody knows who did it,” Hooper said. “These people start bragging to their friends.”



Pertinent numbers

AUTHORITIES AT MONDAY’S news conference provided these phone numbers for people to call with information about the mosque fire:

FBI Joplin field office — (417) 206-5700.

Jasper County Sheriff’s Department, Detective Tim Williams — (417) 358-8177, ext. 1223.

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives — (417) 837-2100.

Missouri Division of Fire Safety’s Arson Hot Line: 1-800-392-7766.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • outdoor_waylanskuku.jpg Last remaining Ku-Ku

    While other fast food locations along Miami’s portion of Route 66 tend to slow down in the mid-afternoon, Eugene Waylan is still hard at work behind his grill serving up hamburgers to a packed drive through.

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • Event for veterans on tap at Crowder

    For area veterans who have returned home from more than a decade at war, the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks hopes to send a simple message at an event this weekend: Welcome home.

    August 1, 2014

  • Damien D Doxley 051314.jpg Prison term meted out in carjacking case

    A Newton County judge assessed a defendant in a Joplin carjacking case seven years in prison Friday on a conviction on a charge of tampering with a motor vehicle.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Amendment 7 backers tout safety, new jobs; foes say special interests to benefit

    Billions of dollars are on the line when Missouri voters head to the polls on Tuesday to consider Amendment 7.
    The constitutional amendment, sent to the voters by the Legislature this year, would temporarily increase Missouri’s sales tax by three-quarters of 1 percent, raising an estimated $5.4 billion for the next decade to fund transportation projects. That includes more than $114.1 million in state funds for projects in Newton and Jasper counties, on top of additional revenue for localities that would be raised.
    After the Missouri Department of Transportation downsized in recent years, these projects are now mostly designed and built by private engineers, contractors and laborers — many of whom have contributed tens of thousands of dollars to a campaign effort to sway voters to support the measure.
    Last Monday — eight days ahead of the primary election day — supporters of the measure reported having raised more than $4.1 million for a campaign committee called Missourians For Safe Transportation and New Jobs, which was established last fall to support the measure.
    The International Union of Operating Engineers in St. Louis and Kansas City have contributed nearly $250,000 to the effort. That total was dwarfed by the $649,398 put in by the Industry Advancement Fund Heavy Constructors. Between its Missouri and Kansas companies, APAC — a construction contracting company that specializes in transportation projects — has contributed more than $150,000.
    “The whole idea that money is flowing into the campaign, of course it is,” said Sen. John Lamping, a St. Louis Republican who is opposed to the measure. “It would be a smart business decision to do that.”
    Lamping said the money pouring into the campaign supporting Amendment 7 is indicative of the financial gain the measure bodes for contractors and laborers.  
    Lamping proposed a measure in the Legislature that would redirect one-eighth of existing sales and use tax revenue directly to transportation projects, but he said that measure was rejected by legislative leaders. The coalition “didn’t hear about it,” the outgoing senator said, “because it was my idea instead of someone else’s idea.”
    Lamping, who filibustered a similar measure in 2013, said Republicans have an ideological consistency problem on the issue. He pointed to the Legislature passing a sales tax increase only a few weeks after overriding Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of an income tax cut that will largely help businesses organized as limited liability corporations, like many of the companies that could benefit from the measure. Lamping said that the tax increase will mostly affect taxpayers who did not get a significant tax cut.
    “Who wants a tax cut in Missouri?” he said. “Businesses. (Republican leaders) wanted to make them happy and then they passed a tax cut. This is grand-scale special interest cronyism.”
    The ad campaign being funded mostly by the business interests features paramedics and construction workers claiming the measure would “fix our roads and keep Missouri families safe.”
    “We have a chance to give our highways and bridges the repairs they need,” says one ad, which is running in Joplin and statewide in the lead up to Tuesday’s vote. “We have a chance to fix what’s broken by voting yes on Amendment 7.”
    The commercial uses a lot of words to talk about the benefits of the measure, but two words in particular are noticeably absent from the commercial: “Tax increase.”  
    “The ads don’t mention any of the ballot language,” said Jewell Patek, a spokesman for Missourians For Safe Transportation and New Jobs. “We figure Missourians will see the language when they go to the polls.”
    Patek, a former state representative who now lobbies the Legislature, said he disagreed with Lamping’s notion that Amendment 7 is all about special interest gain.
    “There’s quite a bit to gain for Missourians,” he said. “We have serious road needs. We’ll win or lose by the benefits in Amendment 7. I’m not sure I agree with Senator Lamping’s assessment.”
    If approved, Amendment 7 would prevent an increase in the state’s fuel tax, a funding boost opponents of the amendment like Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon and some of the state’s social welfare groups have said would be more appropriate because it could pull in revenue from people who use the roads — like the state’s trucking industry.
    The Missouri Truckers Association’s political action committee has contributed more than $27,000 to the effort to pass the measure. Tom Crawford, president of the association, said his members support the amendment because they see the problems on the road and deal with them every day. And passage of the measure does not mean anyone will stop paying fuel tax.
    “We overpay our fair share on the fuel tax,” he said, pointing to statistics by the American Transportation Research Institute that show truckers have accounted for about 14 percent of road usage while paying for 39 percent of all taxes and fees owed by motorists. “We pay sales taxes just like everybody does on goods and products that people buy in the stores.”
    Crawford said truck companies do not pay state sales taxes on the purchase of trucks, but they do pay a federal tax. “So, we won’t be impacted on new equipment purchase, but other areas of our business will be impacted just like every other taxpayer in the state will,” he said.
    Thomas Shrout, who is helping lead the campaign against the tax hike, said that is not good enough and that Amendment 7 lets truck drivers off the hook. “Under Amendment 7, they wouldn’t have to pay any more,” he said.
    Shrout’s opposition campaign has raised just over $27,000 — less than 1 percent of the total money raised by its supporters. They are targeting their opposition at the state’s urban core by spending money on direct mail and targeted robocalls in the final week.
    “We think using the sales tax to fund road projects is poor policy for the state of Missouri,” he said. “It should be rejected.”
    Shrout said the Missouri Department of Transportation and its supporters should go back to the drawing board and consider some of the other options like campaigning for toll roads or a gas tax increase — both based on road usage.
    Representatives for APAC and the Heavy Constructors Association declined requests for comment.

    Tuesday’s election
    Amendment 7 is one of five measures voters will consider when they head to the polls on Tuesday. Statewide, local election officials reported to the Missouri secretary of state that it was their estimate that about 27 percent of the state’s 4.06 million registered voters will show up to vote, including 25 percent of registered voters in Jasper County and 30 percent in Newton County.

    August 1, 2014

  • Brownback names 3 Kansas Board of Regents members

    Gov. Sam Brownback on Friday named a former veteran Kansas House member and two attorneys to the board overseeing the state’s higher education system.

    August 1, 2014

  • Fair to feature goats, chickens and decorated bras

    Along with the usual fair sights, sounds and smells — livestock, poultry, produce and the like — there will be something a bit unusual at the Cherokee County American Legion Free Fair this year: Decorated brassieres. And pink. Lots of pink.

    August 1, 2014

  • Grant to fund solar energy system for PSU’s Plaster Center

    An $80,000 grant from Westar Energy will fund solar panels to provide both energy and education at the Robert W. Plaster Center, now under construction at Pittsburg State University.

    August 1, 2014

  • Survey seeks views on Joplin’s future goals

    Residents are being asked to fill out a survey on priorities for Joplin’s future. The effort was inspired by a meeting of community leaders last month. Survey forms are available at the Joplin Public Library and online at www.surveymonkey.com/s/jointjoplinareaplanningsurvey.

    July 31, 2014

  • Habitat slates volunteer work days

    In the wake of the 2011 tornado, Joplin Area Habitat for Humanity has been a partner with organizations and individuals in the construction of 86 new houses. But what’s also needed, Executive Director Scott Clayton said, are repairs to area homes.

    July 31, 2014

  • Jasper County voters to decide three offices

    Two incumbents are facing challengers and three candidates are vying for what will be an open county office in primary balloting Tuesday in Jasper County.

    July 31, 2014

Must Read
Sports
Photos


Facebook
Poll

Do you plan on voting in the Aug. 5 elections being held in Missouri and Kansas?

Yes
No
     View Results
Opinion
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter