Tag Archives: Missouri

Was It ‘Sudden Jihad Syndrome’ or Something Else? Suspect in Bus Station Murder Still Not Prosecuted After Three Years

Three years ago this week, Mohamed Dawod found himself charged with the murder of Justin Hall, 32, of Mt. Vernon, Ohio, at a Greyhound bus station in Springfield, Mo. As of today, he has not been prosecuted for his alleged role in the deadly shooting that took place less than 48 hours before the 10th anniversary of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Mohamed H. Dawod

Mohamed H. Dawod

Whether or not terrorism was involved, however, remains up in the air to this day, thanks in part to officials in the Southwest Missouri community who were quick to say the shooting by the 25-year-old from Scottsdale, Ariz., appeared random, according to a report in the Springfield News-Leader. But was it really?

According to a Sept. 9, 2011, report on KSPR-TV, Springfield police said that, because of a language barrier, they only learned Dawod’s name and have asked the FBI to help them with the investigation. Also in that report was this telling paragraph:

Ten separate witnesses say they did not notice the men fighting or arguing before the shooting. One passenger said she watched the suspect wander around the terminal until the call to line up to re-board the bus. “She then observed the suspect remove a silver and black handgun from a back pack he was carrying,” the officer wrote. “The suspect then pointed the handgun upward while saying something. The witness could not understand what the suspect said and didn’t know if he was speaking English.” No matter what was said the witness said Hall didn’t react or turn around. Shortly after the witness says Dawod shot him from a few feet away.

Witnesses featured in two television news reports, however, seem to reveal more than the “official” story lets on about the deadly incident that involved a man with a Muslim name and Middle East appearance shooting someone he did not know less than 48 hours ahead of the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States.

The first television report, which aired on St. Louis NBC affiliate KSDK prior to any names being released or charges filed, featured witnesses saying it appeared the assailant would have kept shooting if not for the fact that his gun jammed. The second report, which aired on the same station after the Springfield Police Department announced the alleged shooter’s name and charges against him, offered much the same story.

Not surprisingly, Dawod pleaded not guilty during an arraignment Sept. 12, 2011. The extent to which Dawod would carry out some form of “legal jihad” — that is, causing the U.S. court system to waste as much time, effort and money as possible on his case — remained to be seen.

Could it be that, when Dawod pointed the handgun in the air, he shouted, “Alluh Akbar,” the cry that’s been heard coming from the mouths of so many Islamic extremists moments before they suffer from so-called “sudden jihad syndrome”? No answer to that question yet, so let’s fast-forward to a news report published Sept. 14, 2011, in the Springfield News-Leader.

Based largely on interviews with three people who were at the scene of the shooting, the article included two observations — that the shooter tried to fire again but could not because his gun jammed and that the witnesses believed the shooter intended to shoot several people. In addition, however, it noted that Patrick Beeman, a friend and traveling companion of the victim, said Dawod asked police a question in English after he was arrested: “He said, ‘if I quit shooting at people, can I get back on the bus?'” That, of course, made many wonder if he spoke and understood English after all.

On Sept. 25, 2011, it was revealed in another report — no longer online at NBC4i.com — that, in addition to a handgun, Dawod had a 9-inch knife and 37 rounds of ammunition when arrested.

Within 90 days of his arrest, Dawod was ordered by a judge to undergo psychiatric evaluations, and today, it seems, he remains “under observation.” Though I searched for updated information on CaseNet, the online site where one can typically find information related to civil and criminal cases, I could find no record of the Dawod case.

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.

 

FLASHBACK: Small Missouri Town Loses Some of Its ‘Magic’

No, I wasn’t surprised to read this week’s news about former Mamtek CEO Bruce Cole pleading guilty to three felonies — one count of theft and two counts of securities fraud. After all, I had shared details three years ago about how Janet Morales had smelled a “rat” related to the prospect of a new factory and jobs coming to the tiny town of Moberly, Mo.

The Mamtek site construction in March 2011 (Photo: The Moberly Mirror).

The Mamtek site construction in March 2011 (Photo: The Moberly Mirror).

Though some of the links are dead in my piece about the small town journalist, published Sept. 15, 2011, I thought it worthwhile to share the story (below):

A story that bears many similarities to the one involving Solyndra, the Fremont, Calif., “green energy” company that received $500 million in federal loan guarantees shortly before filing for bankruptcy, is taking place in tiny Moberly, Mo.

Founded in 1866, Moberly is a town that, according to the city’s website, seemed to spring from the prairie overnight in 1873, earning it the title, “The Magic City.”  One-hundred-thirty-eight years later, the city of almost 14,000 lost a little bit of its magic when a start-up newspaper founded by Janet Morales closed its doors.

The reasons behind the newspaper’s demise are troubling.

Morales, 54, founded The Moberly (Mo.) Mirror & County Observer after working three years at the long-established daily newspaper, the Moberly Monitor-Index, as a news reporter. Unfortunately, her newspaper venture would end also — in April 2011 — after she caught flak for having had the gumption to ask local officials questions about an economic development project Gov. Jay Nixon (D-Mo.) announced July 9, 2010, would bring 612 jobs to the community.

That economic development project involved Mamtek International, a sucralose-production company that needed a U.S. location for a new facility where it would use a new “green” approach to make its artificial sweetener/sugar substitute, Sweet.Zero™.

While officials in Moberly were working hard to attract the company, Morales was asking questions about the project.  Unfortunately, those on the receiving end of her questions — namely senior officials at Mamtek — did not appreciate a snoopy reporter asking questions, according to Morales.  And that’s when, in July 2010, her troubles began.

Her troubles increased after the Moberly Chamber of Commerce held a meeting of its board in November 2010.   Soon after the meeting, she said,  business owners in town began pulling their ads and revenue for her newspaper began to dry up.

Like any good journalist who encounters resistance, Morales began digging deeper and looking elsewhere for answers.  After all, the details “just didn’t add up.”

Following the loss of revenue, Morales opted to close The Mirror the following spring — but not before mailing every Moberly resident a copy of its final issue that explained about the Mamtek company and the speed — 72 days! — with which it was welcomed to town, about the potential conflicts of interest that existed among Moberly officials and about the questions concerning the validity of the Mamtek company, especially concerning its plant in China.

The Mirror’s original website was shut down the day of the mailing, but a new one — http://www.TheMoberlyMirror.com –  was quickly set up.  There, Morales’ Mamtek stories — published March 31 under the headline, Mamtek & the Mirror Experience — were posted so everyone could read them and have access to the information.

Six months later, the Moberly officials who didn’t like answering Morales’ questions find themselves having to answer even tougher questions on the heels of news that Mamtek failed to make a $3.2 million bond payment and has named Peter Kravitz, an attorney well-known in restructuring and liquidation circles, as its interim president.

Today, as the promised economic boom appears to have gone bust and the city of Moberly appears to be on the hook for more than $37 million in bond payments, there is a very narrow silver lining for most Missouri taxpayers.

According to a Columbia (Mo.) Daily Tribune report Tuesday, Missouri Department of Economic Development Director David Kerr said the public should be comforted that no state tax money — more than $17 million worth — has been actually applied to the project.  Better still, no federal stimulus dollars appear to have gone to Mamtek.

Conversely, there’s no silver lining for the job-hungry Missourians in Moberly.

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.