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Plot unfolds to assassinate Obama on national TV, a 4th arrest, more details

More details emerging from Denver as we write this in the predawn hours on the now-suspected plot to assassinate Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama with a high-powered rifle on national television during his outdoor acceptance speech at Invesco Field on Thursday night.

Authorities have reported a fourth arrest in the unfolding plot that The Ticket first wrote about here a few hours ago at the end of Monday night's Democratic National Convention events at the Pepsi Center.

Tharin Gartrell, a convicted felon, one of four arrested in Denver in a reported plot to assassinate Senator Barack Obama on national TV during his nomination acceptance speech at Invesco Field Thursday night

We knew then that authorities in suburban Aurora had stopped a pickup truck for swerving between lanes early Sunday morning in what they thought was a routine drunk driving incident.

But in the rented vehicle of Tharin Gartrell, a 28-year-old convicted felon (see photo), they found two high-powered scoped rifles, ammunition, sighting scopes, radios, a cellphone, a bulletproof vest, wigs, drugs and fake IDs.

According to Brian Maass of Denver's KCNC Channel 4, under questioning Gartrell implicated two other men -- Nathan Johnson, who is 32, and Shawn Adolph, who is 33 -- and Johnson's girlfriend, Natasha Gromack. Johnson also reportedly confirmed the plot to FBI and Secret Service interrogators. (See video below.)

One of the men, Adolph, reportedly wore a ring with the Nazi swastika. He was injured when he jumped out of a hotel window fleeing Secret Service agents. All are now in custody on drug and weapons charges.

U.S. Atty. Troy Eid declined to elaborate on Monday but said there is no credible threat to the party's convention or to the freshman Illinois senator, who was campaigning in Kansas City on Monday and traveling to Montana today.

But the television station reports that under questioning the men admitted there was indeed a plot to kill Obama during his speech before some 70,000 supporters and a nationwide television audience.

More details are expected to emerge later today when Eid holds a news conference at 4 p.m. Denver time.

--Andrew Malcolm

Photo credit: Associated Press / Aurora Police Dept.

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Comments () | Archives (59)

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anyone else surprised at this? He's black, hes liberal, we have people like Ann Coulter saying liberals should all be dead (no, seriously, they sell t-shirts saying so) and on and on.

Being black and/or liberal to these people is like being jewish in Germany in 1936.

Um... Is this real?

How can I trust a source who has THREE S's at the end of his name?

Brian Masss? Really?

This is utterly disgusting and sadly I'm not surprised. It's reasons like these that I wish the United States was more like other countries where those who plotted to kill the leader were immediately executed. This has to be the highest form of treason and we need penalties so severe that anyone thinking about killing a leader will afraid for themselves and their family.

Michelle did a great job last night! We are expected a 25-30 point jump in the polls by the end of the week. Thank you for your support Chicago. Here is a sneak peak at the latest Obama ad:

Here are some other upcoming ads:

Obama Biden '08

According to police today, this related to a drug deal. It had absolutely nothing to do with Obama. Come on LAT!

Yet another carefully timed stunt by the Dems to show Obama vulnerable. Shameless.

I can't believe that Cletus the Slack-jawed Yokel would get mixed up in something like this. Yet here is, posing as somebody called 'Nathan Johnson'. I bet the rest of the Simpsons cast feel terribly let down.

Ignorant gutter trash will try to tear this country apart. Wannabe Nazis can't stand the fact that the country won't be run by another "old white man".

Not to worry...imagine how long they will last in prison. I give'em a month.

This plot is appalling.

I am grateful for a great combination of fine standard police work and quick response by our Federal Agencies.

First glance shows hatred fueled by meth abuse (4.4 grams is a lot of meth) and perhaps racial hatred, evidenced by the Nazi ring.

Sen. Obama cannot ever had been ignorant that this animus is out there, unchecked by any consideration of him or his family. He may not have served in the military but he obviously demonstrates great personal courage every day he steps out of safety into this possibility to dare to lead us.

Just gotta love the FBI. They blow-off the assasination conspiracy until the local folks point out the high powered rifles, long range scopes, the bullet proof vests, and the other conspirators. The FBI has quickly become the Key Stone Cops of the 21st century.

Thank GOD these lowlife idiots didn't get the chance to carry out their ill-planned, senseless, evil plan! And gee, I wonder how a youngster like Gartrell was able to get his hands on all of those weapons?? I suppose this is why Republicans are pro-gun, 'cause their candidates don't get assassinated--their gruntworkers do it for them.

Why is this information posted as a blog, and not as a regular article?

It's hard to believe there can still be people like this in the States today. Maybe there can't be peace between all people, so long as any differences remain among us.

Should we be surprised by this?

What I want to know is, who hired them for the hit job?

I hope they string-up the four attempted assasins, taser the hell out of them, and use their own rifles on them. We have a chance to have a real American President, and these bozo's pull something like this. May all four rot in prison hell!

- Andrew727, MALL727net -

I'm appalled. I wish I could say I was surprised, but I'm not. This is the outcome of Republican hate politics, little as decent Republicans want to admit it. The US has become a country where people are murdered for liberal politics--as they were in the Tennessee Valley Unitarian-Universalist Church. As Bill Gwatney was in his Little Rock office. There have been others, and there will probably be more. I hope Mr. Obama won't be one of them.

Well this is pretty awful. Even if you don't care for Obama, some crazies trying to kill him in front of 70,000 supporters is absolutely horrible.

A technical question.
What would happen if a major party presidential nominee were assassinated before the election? Who would became the candidate? The VicePresidential candidate? Or would be the dead candidate remain on the ballott and another man chosen by the electoral college in case he wins?
If I'm not mistaken this has never happened before.

I hate that stuff like this happens but i bet there will be other incidents like this, the secret service guys must be losing there minds.

It's a sad comment on our society, but honestly, who didn't see something like this coming? Here's hoping the Secret Service stays at the top of their game.

Ah, is it those 'blacks' doing it again. No wait, they're white, therefore you see a bunch of excusing, blame deflecting comments. Blame dems, blame LAT. Anyone but the perpetrators themselves. White privilege at its worst.

I'm hoping the media is trying to downplay this to discourage "copy cats".
I definately hope they don't believe that any plot to kill someone "not credible".
The justice system takes criminal threats so seriously (at least in this state) that you don't even have to have the ability to carry out a threat to get a felony conviction for criminal threats. The main requirement, but not only, is that the person being threatened takes it seriously enough to fear for their life.

What a quandary for America's so called, "white, working class", (Which is apparently what we call racist these days). They know the country may not survive the Bush clone, who loves lobbyist, cheap labor, and war even more than his predecesser. Yet they cannot fathom casting their vote for anyone who isn't white. Question is,"Do they love America more than they hate black people?" ...and by the way, remind me, why it is that so many whites hate black people.

Those earrings look so cute on Gartrell. He will new friends in no time in prison.

If it was known why so many whites hate blacks, maybe you could be told why so many blacks hate whites. Have you noticed who most blacks are voting for in this election?

Not surprised, but utterly disgusted.

I notice one of these people has the last name Adolph. One might think there's a neo-Nazi or white supremicist aspect to this group, and that wouldn't surprise me, either.

Guy in photo looks like he's been on a multi-day meth binge.

Also, the country might not survive 4 years of Barack Obama. With all the baggage he has, 20 years Rev.Wright, Ayers, Rezko, how can you know what you will get and will Obama stand for anything with his constant changing on issues and his poor judgment.

'any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.'
- benjamin franklin

and any candidate for president who would make himself a prisoner and hostage
to achieve his goals,
is completely lost and has lost completely.

in case there was really an attack planned on one of the candidates by some independently operating individuals, who were perhaps even convinced they were doing something necessary or useful to prevent great harm to many - it's not helpful.
whether or not this was a false flag operation to attract more support for the potential 'victim' (though as we're told, extremely closely guarded, so much so that he moves about as a prisoner and hostage within his own high-security prison wherever he goes) - it's not helpful.
it is not possible to bring about peace by war, to end violence by killing anyone, to end injustice by depriving someone of their humanity.
assassination attempts on hitler and stalin failed.
they served as an excuse to reinforce the rule of autocratic tyrants, and to deprive the people of their rights and freedoms.
only when the people are awake enough to peacefully make responsible choices, there can be positive and lasting change.
assassinations, terror and revenge, lynch mob violence, can only serve to support the destructive agenda of tyranny, and will not help wake up the people to their responsibility. to replace one evil with another, can never lead to liberty.
RON PAUL, the legitimate constitutional republican candidate for president, does not seek to protect himself against the people, as he always intends to represent the people's interests.

This isn't about whites hating black people as much as it's about whites being afraid of giving up the power, not knowing if they will ever get it back again. We are a racially diverse country. A black president this time, What next? Asian? Latino? You bet!! How about a president that doesn't believe in God? & won't say "God bless America" at the end of every speech? That will upset a lot of people....

Being from another country I was interested, intrigued and even hopeful for a better tomorrow when I saw Barrack running for president. I thought that just the very fact that the country could recognize his greatness and his unwavering determination to fix your country gave me hope.

Hope that we would soon see an end to all the bully tactics, the lies, the wars, and all the corruption the united states inflicts on the rest of the world.

Yet sadly after following the race for the past few months it has become obvious you are not ready for change… you think you own the world, and the fact that John McCain even has a chance at this election only solidifies that belief.

So for me… at this point I am hoping that McCain actually wins. Only for the fact that with McCain in office we can be sure to see the united states fall apart at the seams. I am SURE there will be unrest within your county over the wars he will wage in the name of the all mighty dollar, the fact that your country will slowly fall into worse economic times than stock market crash of the 30’s.

So vote for McCain… follow it up with a civil war, destroy what’s left of your country, and eat some humble pie… because the sad honest truth is the world would be far better off without the united states.

Lauren posted a comment at 4:05 pm about whites being afraid of losing power or a president running who doesn't believe in God. I was wondering if Obama believes in God the God who wrote the ten commandments. I heard Obama was Muslim and from my understanding they don't believe in God almighty.They believe in Allah (Muhammad).The Islam book.True born Americans live by the words "In God We Trust" on our money,in our courts, etc... So why would they want a president to run our country who don't trust in our God. He recently converted to Christianity only because of his political status, other than that he wouldn't have converted. So you are very correct when you said people will get mad.


Obama is NOT a Muslim and never has been.
he has been going to a christian church for 25 years at least.
he and his wife were married in that same christian church. he was born in the states(Hawaii)
he took his oath of office on the bible.
do you believe every email and comment the republicans or democrats say
not do you own homework about the election or the people you might be voting for? if you do you are obsessively a Sheeple .

i work on his campaign and have meet him a couple of times he his a nice person.
it's to bad there are people like you out their that willing to perpetuate the rumor mill .

Get off it! That silly post by Tacoiz is perpetuating a lie. Obama is a Christian and believes in God. The problem with comments like that and so many others is that the people who make them ignore history. Remember: blacks were imported into the country to provide labor, were enslaved to assure labor, were hated to justify the enslavement, have been banned, rioted against, lynched, and have had to fight for every right they have earned by appealing to the sympathy of whites who could see the injustices practiced in this country. Obama is a Christian and so are many other Christians who don't share the posters narrow view of Christianity. People like that don't even get their facst straight about other religions as is evident from the post.




I really hope this doesn't happen. If someone kills Obama, the RIots that would follow would be something very terrible. If a terrorist wants to create chaos, what better way than to plot an assasination like this and then watch our own people turn on each other. Very scary thought indeed.

I am praying this doesn't happen.

This republican (Karl Rove appointed) DA discounts Obama assassination plot but then states,”A death threat is not a legitimate form of political expression,” U.S. Attorney Troy Eid said. “We won’t stand for threats of this kind in Colorado.” about black inmate that sent letter with baby powder to John McCain

I almost believe this Republican DA Troy Eid will tell these poor little white meth boys to straighten up and fly right. This republican goes beyond liberal to just plain stupid, which makes the best republican puppet. Is Troy sending a message that it’s OK to other potential assassins? Wake Up America! Troy Carl Rove’s Toy

I'm surprised that this did not get any more media attention. I'm not sure either party would really want that to happen (so I gues I shouldn't be).
The Republicans exploiting the story weakens their strongest possibility to win the election(the general racism of the average american voter). And increases the importance of Joe Biden ( A popular choice among that same group as well as middle of the road republicans).
The Democrats obviously would not want to point out their candidates possible (probable?) longevity issues.

This event is absolutely sad and better yet discouraging. To think that there are people out there in our great country and in the world who so little value human life that they would try to or kill someone specifically a presidential candidate because they disagree with the principles for which they stand. What people fail to realize that first and foremost this man (Senator Obama) is someone's son, husband, father, relative and after all that THEN is he a candidate for President of the United States of America. This should open the eyes of all those responsible for protecting politicians and shows that there is still a need for improvement in protecting presidential candidates. Can you imagine how awful it would have been if these men had carried out their plan and carelessly murdered this man in front of 70,000 supporters AND on national television? How could there be such a security loop-hole that such a plan could have possibly been carried through if it had not been discovered? Well it shows that only God can truly protect any of us including a presidential candidate.

Ann Coulter and the like are not selling t-shirts to assassinate him. Get your facts right before you state rhetoric -- that's called libel.


I can forgive somebody who is not AMERICAN and write that nonsense post (08/26/08 at 11:35PM) about the Islam, God and Obama. If you are christian you might not judge someone... I do know that you have some confusion in your mind about the religions, here is some explanation:
Allah (Arabic: Allah, is the standard Arabic word of "God". When the term is well known in the west for its use by Muslims as a reference to God. It is used by Arabic-speakers of all Abrahamic faiths, including Christians and Jews in reference to God).
Go to the Public Library and start reading

Hopefully some more brave boys will get the job done and save our country from a Marxist, Muslim racist, terrorist.

i dont think this video is real there are many spelling errors such as "whicch" and that man's last name is "masss" early in the video and "maass" later.... dont think i believe it


When has there been a successfull black man in office in any nation look at trinidad and tabago there government is corrupt. look at many of africas leaders they are also currupt its not called racism its called facing the facts that are rite infront of us and looking at past leaders.

And i personally think this assasination plot is nonsense i am not a supporter of these neo-nazis freaks but it is bound to happen with so many people out there thinking there the supreme race...

I am not suprised by the racial slang nor the attempts to assinate Obama. America is a country which loves to sweep issues under the rug of the "American Dream." But what if our American dream is to see an African American man as president. What if our dream is to have health coverage. What if our dream is to inform people not to be narrow minded about taxes and other issues. Is the cost of those dream an assination, just like we shed blood in wars for other freedoms? I am appaled by by neighbors and even my family members who are unwilling to walk out on a limb and vote for an African American for president. I am not afriad to admit that I am white and that I want Obama to win. And I pray that he lives to bask in his glory as president.

God keep Sentor Obama and his family safe. I pray these guys are punished to the fullest. Viva Obama he is gonna change our country for the better.

This makes me sick. People are so scared of change and still caught up with the 'race card'. It's a shame that if Obama is elected President, this has to be a major concern, amidst everything else our nation is involved in.

People talk about history and how bad African Americans were treated. People talk about how bad white people were to black people. I have never seen anyone say something about how black people actually became slaves. BLACK people sold BLACK people to become slaves and come over here. I've got nothing against Obama, I am not voting for him, and the assassination attempt is crazy and I'm glad they stopped it.
McCain/Palin '08

Now that Obama has became president i think its time for everyone to except it and stop talking about him being assassinated. Its really dumb and stupid for somebody to try it. He is gonna have security everywhere so you wont be able to get to him. African Americans are people to and deserve the same respect and you should treat them like it. We are all equal and we christians serve the same God. We going to the top and America is gonna become a greater because of this great change and this great event that happened yesterday so please try to except this and wait to see how Obama is gonna change America but also change the world.

De'Braun Hope,

I believe that you are yet another stupid democrat! I am incredibly upset that our government allows uneducated people, such as yourself, to vote. When you wrote “African Americans are people to” it should be “too.” The word “too” is the proper form in that case because it means also. You also demonstrate your lack of intelligence by your use of the word “except.” Except should be used in the same context as excluding. The word that you were trying to use is “accept” which means that you come to terms with something. Instead of wasting your time on the computer, I suggest that you get yourself an education.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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