2 men accused in plot to attack Seattle recruiting station

2 men accused in plot to attack Seattle recruiting station
SEATTLE - Two men were arrested Wednesday night and accused of plotting to attack a Seattle military recruiting station with machine guns and grenades, federal officials said.

Federal prosecutors identified the two as Khalid Abdul-Latif, aka Joseph Anthony Davis, 33, of Seattle, and Walli Mujahidh, aka Frederick Domingue, Jr., 32, of Los Angeles.

Both were charged in federal court Thursday with terrorism, conspiracy to murder officers and employees of the United States, conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction and firearms charges.

The complaint alleges that Abdul-Latif and Mujahidh purchased machine guns and planned to use them in an attack on the Military Entrance Processing Station on East Marginal Way in Seattle, which also houses a day care center.

The two also planned to toss grenades into the facility on a day and time when it would cause maximum casualties, according to court documents filed in the case.

United States Attorney Jenny A. Durkan said in a statement that law enforcement officials had been monitoring the pair after receiving a tip from someone who said they had been approached about participating in the attack.

That person then worked with law enforcement to help foil the plot. Unbeknownst to the suspects, their weapons also were rendered inoperable and posed no risk to the public.

"The complaint alleges these men intended to carry out a deadly attack against our military where they should be most safe, here at home," Durkan said. "This is a sobering reminder of our need to be vigilant and that our first line of defense is the people who live in our community. We were able to disrupt the plot because someone stepped forward and reported it to authorities."

The investigation revealed the two used as their model the 2009 attack on Fort Hood by an Army major. The incident left 13 people dead.

Federal prosecutors said the two suspects initially planned an attack on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, but later changed targets. The pair intended to carry out their attack with both grenades and machine guns, according to prosecutors.

Since early June the conspirators were captured on audio and videotape discussing a violent assault on the Military Entrance Processing Station, Durkan said.

The processing center, known as MEPS, is where each branch of the U.S. military screens and processes enlistees. In addition to housing many civilian and military employees, the building houses a federal daycare center.

In one conversation reprinted in court documents, Abdul-Latif said, "We come up in here ... we throw the grenade in there. ... Move up, throw the grenade in here. ... When you get here, we drop the grenade here. You get halfway down the hallway, we drop the grenade down here. We can throw one in the bathroom, too."

"We're not only trying to kill people, we're trying to send a message," he added, according to court documents. "We're trying to get something that's gonna be on CNN and all over the world. ... That's what we want.

In another conversation, according to court documents, Mujahidh said, "We go into the MEPS, and like I said, we might as well lay everybody down, bro. Everybody. Straight up, you know what I'm saying? ... At the MEPS, ain't gonna be no innocent women and children, bro. ... Everybody in that building is connected with the military."

Mujahidh also sent a text message saying, "Everything is fine just waiting to be with you brothers for the sake of Allah. ... Allah grant us success in what we go forth to accomplish," according to court documents.

"Driven by a violent, extreme ideology, these two young Americans are charged with plotting to murder men and women who were enlisting in the Armed Forces to serve and protect our country. This is one of a number of recent plots targeting our military here at home," said Todd Hinnen, acting assistant attorney general for national security.

Federal law enforcement officials worked with Seattle police to thwart the plot.

"The threat was averted by the combined efforts of the federal, state and local law enforcement officers that make up the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force," said Hinnen.

Laura Laughlin, special agent in charge of the FBI Seattle Division, hailed the courage of the person who came forward and shared information about the alleged plot.

"But for the courage of the cooperating witness, and the efforts of multiple agencies working long and intense hours, the subjects might have been able to carry out their brutal plan," Laughlin said.

Seattle Police Chief John Diaz added, "This attack was foiled because of the trust and relationships the men and women of the Seattle Police Department enjoy with our community. The complainant felt safe approaching a Seattle police detective and, in doing so, ended the plot intended to take innocent lives."

Both Abdul-Latif and Mujahidh face potential sentences of life in prison if convicted of the charges against them.

The men behind the allegations

Walli Mujahidh lived in Seattle four years ago before moving to California.

Abdu Kahlid Abdul-Latif lives in SeaTac. His wife, who described him as a loving man, said she doesn't understand how he could be accused of a terror plot.

"They (the investigators) told me they are looking for weapon, and I told them, 'I don't have no weapon in this house,"' said wife Binta Moussa-Davis.

Moussa-Davis described Abdul-Latif as a good man and a good husband.

"He goes to mosque. He works hard," she said. "I don't have to pay rent. I don't have to pay food. I don't have to pay clothes. He's clothing me. He's housing me."

She said she does not drive. Her husband's two vehicles are parked outside their apartment bearing advertisements for Fresh N Clean, a janitorial services company he owns.

The terror suspect legally changed his name four years ago from Joseph Davis. His former name of Davis is more familiar with law enforcement in Washington.

Davis' criminal history dates back to 2002, and stretches across King, Kitsap and Walla Walla counties. He has both felony and misdemeanor convictions including robbery, assault, obstructing officers, theft and driving with a suspended license.

Neighbors said they never expected these allegations.

"You'd hear them arguing, but I mean, it was normal," said neighbor Mozaia Walton. "Well, he just seemed like a working guy, like he would come and he would go. His wife was really nice."

Abdul-Latif just filed for bankruptcy in May, and did not list a spouse on that filing. In his paperwork,he showed that he had just $1 in his bank account.

Mujahidh does not appear to have a criminal record, the FBI said.

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• View the federal charging documents in the case >>>