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Feds: Topeka Man Tried to Explode Car Bomb at Fort Riley

(Image credit: 1st Infantry Division Public Affairs Office)

A 20-year-old Topeka man has been charged in federal court with trying to detonate a car bomb at the Fort Riley army base near Junction City.  John T. Booker, Jr. has been charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction (explosives), attempting to damage property and attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq.  The charges were announced this (FRI) morning by the U.S. Attorney for Kansas, Barry Grissom and national security officials.  The defendant was arrested as part of an FBI investigation and officials say the device used by the defendant was, in fact, inert.  Booker is expected to make an initial appearance this (FRI) afternoon before U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree in federal court in Topeka.  Booker was arrested this (FRI) morning near Manhattan as he completed his final preparations to detonate a vehicle bomb targeting U.S. military personnel. 

“We face a continued threat from individuals within our own borders who may be motivated by a variety of causes,” said U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom. “Anyone who seeks to harm this nation and its people will be brought to justice."

Officials say Booker attempted to attack U.S. military personnel in the name of the terrorist organization known as ISIL.  Booker is alleged to have spent months discussing multiple plans before deciding on a plan that involved the execution of a suicide bombing mission.  The complaint alleges Booker told another person “that detonating a suicide bomb is his number one aspiration because he couldn’t be captured, all evidence would be destroyed, and he would be guaranteed to hit his target.” Booker identified Fort Riley as a good target, “because the post is famous and there are a lot of soldiers stationed there,” the complaint alleges.   Booker allegedly produced a propaganda video in which he told the American people to get their loved ones out of the military now because, “The Islamic State is coming for them. From inside, whether it be in their homes, whether it be on a base like this, whether it be in the recruiting stations, whether it be in the streets.”
Officials allege that since March 2015, Booker plotted to construct an explosive device for an attack on American soil. It is also alleged that he repeatedly stated a desire to engage in violent jihad on behalf of the ISIL.  If convicted, Booker faces a maximum penalty of life in prison.

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