Muslim man from Kosovo charged in Fla. bomb plot: Muslim community helped provide authorities with information
A Kosovo-born Muslim man was charged with plotting to attack crowded locations around Tampa, including nightclubs and a sheriff’s office, with a car bomb, assault rifle and other explosives, federal authorities said Monday.
According to a federal complaint, 25-year-old Sami Osmakac recorded an eight-minute video shortly before his arrest explaining why he wanted to bring terror to his “victims’ hearts” in the Tampa Bay area. Osmakac is a naturalized American citizen born in Kosovo, a region in the former Yugoslavia in eastern Europe.
In the video, Osmakac is seen cross-legged on the floor with a pistol in his hand and an AK-47 behind him. Osmakac said in the video that Muslim blood was more valuable than that of people who do not believe in Islam, according to the complaint. He said he wanted “payback” for wrong that was done to Muslims, the complaint said.
There is no indication that Osmakac planned to attack the Republican National Convention, which will be held in Tampa in August, federal authorities said.
Osmakac gave only brief answers to basic questions during his first appearance in federal court Monday. He wore a blue jail outfit and was shackled at his wrists and ankles. His public defender, Alec Hall, declined to comment afterward.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Anthony Porcelli ordered Osmakac held without bail. If convicted on the single count of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, Osmakac could face life in prison.
Osmakac was arrested Saturday — the day officials said he was planning his attack — after he allegedly bought explosive devices and firearms from an undercover agent. The firearms and explosives were disabled by law enforcement before the sale.
Osmakac lived with his parents in a tan stucco home in Pinellas Park, Fla., a small city west of Tampa. He worked occasionally at the Balkan Food Store and Bakery in St. Petersburg, a small store owned by his parents.