Wednesday, October 29, 2008

White Supremacist Killing Spree and Obama Assassination Attempt Foiled

The Crockett County, Tennessee, Sheriff's Office, along with federal agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) have uncovered and prevented what could have been the deadliest extremist shooting spree in years.

On October 22, 2008, two suspects, Daniel Cowart, 21, of Bells, Tennessee, and Paul Schlesselman, 18, of West Helena, Arkansas, were arrested on suspicion of possessing an unregistered firearm, conspiring to steal firearms from a federally licensed gun dealer, and threats against a major candidate for the office of president.

Schlesselman and Cowart allegedly informed officers they were planning a "killing spree" that would involve killing 88 people and beheading 14 African-Americans. Both numbers have symbolic significance to white supremacists. The number "88" is code for "Heil Hitler," while "14" is a reference to the "14 Words," a white supremacist slogan: "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children."

Cowart had recently been involved with Supreme White Alliance, a hardcore racist skinhead group with members from several states, mostly in the Midwest. In April, Cowart even attended a Hitler's Birthday celebration held by the group in Cincinatti. The previous month he handed out racist flyers in front of a local Wal-Mart.

Upon request, the Anti-Defamation League provided information to the ATF on the two suspects, their associates and contacts, and on the Supreme White Alliance and its membership.

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