Archive for Friday, September 14, 2012

Bomb threat at government building closes streets in downtown KC; no explosives found

September 14, 2012, 1:58 p.m. Updated September 14, 2012, 4:22 p.m.


— Authorities used a remote-control robot to scan the contents of a suspicious vehicle near downtown Kansas City government office buildings Friday after a man walked into one of them and said he was a terrorist, police said.

The man was taken into custody and officers sent a bomb-sniffing dog to the man's vehicle, which had been parked in a spot near the Fletcher Daniels State Office building and the towering Richard Bolling Federal Building.

The dog detected some sort of explosive in the car. Police later used a remote-control robot to probe the car, and television helicopters showed the robot opening the trunk and pulling out what appeared to be a green tarp and a spare tire.

"I do know we will take our time because we want to do it correctly and make sure everyone is safe," police Sgt. Marisa Barnes said.

It wasn't clear which office building the man had entered around noon Friday.

Government workers began streaming out of the buildings around 3 p.m. Many said they had been sent home early as police continued their investigation.

"It was kind of tense, but we weren't scared," said Jennifer Smith, a benefit authorizer for the Social Security Agency on the federal building's 16th floor.

Smith said many government workers spent much of the afternoon looking online for reports about the incident.

FBI officials have refused to comment on the case, except to say that agents were assisting Kansas City police.

A federal law enforcement source told The Associated Press that no explosives were found on the man or in his car, but police did find a gun in the vehicle. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the investigation.


gccs14r 5 years, 8 months ago

It seems odd that a terrorist would announce himself.

Shane Garrett 5 years, 8 months ago

As Jeff Dunham's dummy says,"I'll Keel you".

JayhawkFan1985 5 years, 8 months ago

My wife works in that building. I don't think this is a topic we should be joking about.

Claire Williams 5 years, 8 months ago

Was your wife able to get her car, or is it stuck in the parking lot where the car being investigated is at?

JayhawkFan1985 5 years, 8 months ago

The point is not where someone parks but rather that people's lives could have been placed in harms way. Fortunately, nobody was hurt.

Claire Williams 5 years, 8 months ago

I wasn't suggesting that was the point, just making a friendly inquiry if she was able to get to her car, because many are stuck downtown. I was going to ask if she needed a ride back to Lawrence I would be happy to help out.

JayhawkFan1985 5 years, 8 months ago

She wasn't in KC today. I wasn't upset by your post. I just get tired of people making jokes like Wally did when people's lives can be affected in such a devastating manner. 9/11 was just a few days ago and his comment, not yours, rubbed me really wrong.

Claire Williams 5 years, 8 months ago

There's not very good textual coverage of the story so far, but I work in downtown and this is what I know so far:

Around 10:30 or 11 this morning this guy parked at the parking lot for the State Office building, on E. 12th street and around Cherry St. He parked in a handicapped spot right near the front of the building.

He then walked into the FEDERAL building (which is adjacent to the state building), and was yelling that he was a terrorist on the terrorist watch list and that he had a bomb in his car. KMBC just reported that it was CONFIRMED he is on the terrorist watch list.

He's been taken into custody and is being questioned by FBI.

The State building has been evacuated, the federal building wasn't officially evacuated, but many people downtown have gone home anyway. The daycare center at the federal building has been evacuated to a location at 10th and Locust. The Jackson county jail building is on lockdown, and Jackson County Courthouse has suspended operations for the day.

Bomb sniffing dogs detected something in the car, and so there have been two robots there pulling stuff out of the car. Apparently the first robot just left the car and is heading back to the police command post. The second robot is currently pulling things out of the car on the passenger side.

The most recent development is that an airspace restriction has been put in place, so all air traffic coming into and out of the downtown airport cannot fly over downtown.

13th St. exit on 70 is closed, and 12th and 13th are closed from Cherry to Holmes.

Claire Williams 5 years, 8 months ago

Bomb squad personnel are now approaching the vehicle themselves, so this might be a good sign that the situation is resolving.

Claire Williams 5 years, 8 months ago

The new thing they're saying about the suspect is that he testified in the trial after the first WTC bombing and has been in the witness protection program.

The temporary flight restriction has been lifted.

Claire Williams 5 years, 8 months ago

Wahed Moharam - AKA Helmet Man from Chiefs games is the man they are tentatively identifying as the suspect.

Apparently he claims that he went to the Federal building and asked "Why am I on the terrorist watch list?"

He was on the witness protection program after testifying in the first WTC bombing hearings.

He says he never told anyone that he had a bomb, and that he told the police that he only had fertilizer in his trunk.

Here is a story about Wahed from 2003:

FBI has confirmed -- The man went to the Federal building to ask if he was on the watch list. He never claimed that he had a bomb, and FBI says there were no explosive devices in his vehicle.

Mike Edson 5 years, 8 months ago

The media has blown this way out of proportion. Watching KSHB 41 Action News they are milking this for everything it is worth. They go from calling it a bomb threat to saying it wasn't in the same story segment. The fellow just asked if he was on the terrorist watch list, and look what happens. The media is ridiculous.

classclown 5 years, 8 months ago

Well since there was no bomb and it was a typical overreaction from authorities, it looks like we can all resume joking about the situation. Those with thin skin may be excused.

gbulldog 5 years, 8 months ago

Welcome to Obamaworld were everthing is a bed of roses. Just don't let your caution down and forget about the thorns.

skull 5 years, 8 months ago

First Obamaworld. Maybe tonight I'll drive my Obamacar down to Carlos Obamas and get some obamanachos or obamurritos. Maybe I'm not feeling obaman food and I'll just have a few obamargaritas or a shot of obamaquila before I drunkenly drive my obamily back to my obamahouse and watch some obamaball on the obamavision.

ThePilgrim 5 years, 8 months ago

This was blown way out of proportion (pardon the pun). By 5 PM Friday the news stations were backing off and saying that the guy didn't come in yelling he was a terrorist. He supposedly asked a receptionist who he could talk to that could verify whether he was on the terrorist watch list. It gets more murky. Then supposedly they either got a positive on bomb residue with a bomb sniffing dog or a test on his shoe, and called in the bomb disposal robot. The best coverage of the day was when they released the guy's name, and he was a well known KC figure, even was known as the "Chiefs helmet head" guy, whatever that means. Apparently he painted his bald head to look like a Chiefs helmet. AND they pointed out that he was a born again Christian, which was totally out of place,. Watching them spin that was laughable. Watching the KC TV stations crowing later in the evening about their great coverage, while backpedaling on the appropriateness of the reaction and their coverage was amusing.

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