Muslim Teacher Attacks Base, Chants Death to America: Deemed "Not a terrorist"

John A. Quayle blueoval57 at VERIZON.NET
Tue Oct 23 22:13:29 MDT 2007


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Posted on Tue, Oct. 23, 2007


Teacher who attacked base had death wish, FBI says

BY DAVID OVALLE
Wielding two butcher knives bought at Wal-Mart 
and vodka bottles to use as explosives, Tahmeed 
Ahmad chanted ''Death to America'' and told 
Homestead Air Reserve Base guards he wanted to kill soldiers.

But Ahmad was no terrorist, authorities believe.

Rather, the Miami Central High School math 
teacher wanted to ''commit suicide by cop'' when 
he attacked military policemen stationed at the 
west gate just before midnight Sunday, the FBI said.

Ahmad did not get his wish. One officer fired his handgun at Ahmad. He missed.

''We take security very seriously at the base, 
but this was quite an unusual event,'' said Lt. 
Col. Tom Davis, a base spokesman. ``Our security 
forces are well trained and responded appropriately.''

Police quickly arrested Ahmad, 22, whose mother 
says is mentally ill and had recently been in a 
mental institution. The FBI charged him Monday 
with assaulting a U.S. government employee.

Ahmad is in his first year teaching math at Miami 
Central High, 1781 NW 95th St.

A federal judge will decide Thursday whether he can be released pending trial.

If he is freed, Ahmad will be reassigned away 
from children, said John Schuster, a schools spokesman.

Ahmad had been added to a federal terrorist watch 
list, but officials had long since concluded he 
was not a credible threat, Davis said.

He graduated in June from City College of New 
York's honors program in mathematics, his mother, 
Gulnaz Ahmad, said from East Flushing, N.Y.

She said her son was a smart, quiet man who was 
elected as a student government-faculty liaison 
three years in a row. He was born in Kuwait and is a naturalized U.S. citizen.

He had been recruited to teach by Miami-Dade 
schools. Ahmad also wanted to coach football.

But last week, a mental hospital called to say 
Ahmad, who had been on psychiatric medication, 
tried killing himself but didn't know how.

''I don't why he was depressed and why he was so 
sad,'' his mother said, tearfully. ``He needs help.''

According to an FBI criminal complaint, Ahmad 
admitted to buying two butcher knives at a Miami 
Lakes-area Wal-Mart. From a liquor store, he 
bought ``two magnum bottles of vodka he hoped to use as Molotov cocktails.''

The teacher told agent Richard W. Lunn he would 
have used a gun but that a week ago, a dealer 
refused to sell him one because he had not lived 
in Florida for 90 days, as required by law.

On Sunday night, Ahmad drove his car to the 
gate's west entrance, hopped out and ``charged the military police officers.''

''The fellow was being very hostile toward the guard,'' Davis said.

The military police officer fired in his own 
defense, the criminal complaint said.

It was unclear exactly how far away he was from 
Ahmad. An internal review of the shooting will be conducted, Davis said.



© 2007 Miami Herald Media Company. All Rights Reserved.
http://www.miamiherald.com
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