The ATF says it has broken up a plot to assassinate Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and shoot or decapitate 102 black people in a Tennessee murder spree.
In court records unsealed Monday, federal agents said they disrupted plans to rob a gun store and target a predominantly African-American high school by two neo-Nazi skinheads. Agents said the skinheads did not identify the school by name.
Jim Cavanaugh, special agent in charge of the Nashville field office for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said the two men planned to shoot 88 black people and decapitate another 14. The numbers 88 and 14 are symbolic in the white supremacist community.
The men also sought to go on a national killing spree, with Obama as its final target, Cavanaugh told The Associated Press.
“They said that would be their last, final act — that they would attempt to kill Sen. Obama,” Cavanaugh said. “They didn’t believe they would be able to do it, but that they would get killed trying.”
An Obama spokeswoman traveling with the senator in Pennsylvania had no immediate comment.
The men, Daniel Cowart, 20, of Bells, Tenn., and Paul Schlesselman 18, of West Helena, Ark., are being held without bond. Agents seized a rifle, a sawed-off shotgun and three pistols from the men when they were arrested. Authorities alleged the two men were preparing to break into a gun shop to steal more.
Attorney Joe Byrd, who has been hired to represent Cowart, did not immediately return a call seeking comment Monday.
Cowart and Schlesselman are charged with possessing an unregistered firearm, conspiring to steal firearms from a federally licensed gun dealer, and threatening a candidate for president.
The investigation is continuing, and more charges are possible, Cavanaugh said.
“The allegations set forth in this Criminal Complaint are serious and will be treated as such, “ said Lawrence J. Laurenzi, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee. “ The public can rest assured that federal, state, and local law enforcement are diligently working together to investigate and prosecute the alleged activity.”
They alleged plotters planned on going on a killing spree with guns stolen from a gun shop. They planned on targeting a predominantly African American school and to to continue their spree of violence by assassinating Barack Obama