Did an alert retired cop just thwart another Fort Hood massacre?
Texas police say a newly-arrested Muslim American Army private has admitted planning to attack fellow troops at the famous Fort Hood Army base in Killeen.
He'll likely face federal charges after FBI agents found a large amount of bomb-making materials in his hotel room not far from the base.
The 21-year-old had gone AWOL from Fort Campbell, Kentucky after refusing deployment to Afghanistan on religious grounds and then being charged with possession of child pornography during his discharge process.
Kileen is the site of Fort Hood, scene of the 2009 massacre of 13 military personnel. Another American Muslim soldier, Army Maj. Nidal Hasan, has been charged with those killings. He faces the death penalty if found guilty in a trial set to begin in early 2012.
"Thanks to quick action by a Texas gun dealer in alerting local police to a suspicious character," Rep. John Carter said today, "and a prompt and vigorous response by the Killeen Police Department, we may well have averted a repeat of the tragic 2009 radical Islamic terror attack on our nation's largest military installation."
Abdo appeared in a local gunshop Tuesday afternoon, according to Greg Ebert, a retired police officer now working there. Ebert said Abdo purchased shotgun shells, a magazine and six one-pound canisters of gunpowder.
But he then asked Ebert numerous questions indicating little knowledge of the gunpowder.
"That's a red flag for me," Ebert said. "He should know" if he's buying that much. Ebert checked with his boss and then alerted police.
In the hotel room police say they also found uniforms with Fort Hood patches, battery-powered clocks and shrapnel.
-- Andrew Malcolm
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Photo: Larry W. Smith / EPA (A Fort Hood headquarters building, file); Killeen Police Dept. (Abdo booking photo)