Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

End to Mosque Bomb Case: No Tolerance of 'Lone Wolf'; Muslims, Christians and Sheriff React to How FBI Ended Suspect's Flight

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

End to Mosque Bomb Case: No Tolerance of 'Lone Wolf'; Muslims, Christians and Sheriff React to How FBI Ended Suspect's Flight

Article excerpt

Byline: Dan Scanlan

Relief that the threat is gone and sadness it ended in death - those were some emotions present Thursday as Muslims and Christians joined law enforcement to discuss Wednesday's shooting of Sandlin Smith by FBI agents in Oklahoma.

Smith had been the recent focus of an investigation into the May 2010 firebombing of the Islamic Center of Northeast Florida after an April 28 tip pointed to the 46-year-old Fruit Cove resident, according to the FBI.

Tracked to a field outside Fairview by FBI agents and Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers, Smith may have been heading to friends in Texas when he was caught, said James Casey, special agent in charge of the FBI's Jacksonville field office.

"When he came out of the tent, he was armed and he was a threat to the agents," Casey said. "I don't know whether he shot first or shot at all."

Imam Joe Bradford said the Islamic center's members are relieved, but regret any life was lost. With Casey, Sheriff John Rutherford, area ministers and others at a news conference Thursday, Bradford thanked the community and law enforcement for their support since the bombing.

Rutherford said residents "clearly stood up opposed to any type of hate of that sort" from a "lone wolf" like Smith.

Someone planted a crude pipe bomb behind the mosque May 10, 2010, as about 60 people were inside. But no one was hurt.

The FBI had surveillance video showing a man outside with a gas can, as well as video from a business next door showing a black pickup truck around the time of the bomb.

Investigators initially thought a man caught on security video barging into the mosque April 4, 2010, was the bomber or was linked to the case. Tracked down Nov. 11, the unidentified man admitted to creating the disturbance, but denied any involvement in the bombing, according to the affidavit. …

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