While some media have picked up the story of Ali Muhammad Brown, who killed 4 men in the cause of jihad, most haven’t put all the pieces together yet.
Brown killed 3 men in Seattle, and then 19 year old Brendan Tevlin in New Jersey, after which he was caught, as we noted here.
Muhammad Brown told investigators that Tevlin’s slaying was a “just kill.” The devout Islamic adherent proclaimed: “My mission is vengeance. For the lives, millions of lives are lost every day.” Echoing jihadist Fort Hood mass killer Nidal Hasan, Muhammad Brown cited Muslim deaths in “Iraq, Syria, (and) Afghanistan” as the catalysts for his one-man Islamic terror campaign. “All these lives are taken every single day by America, by this government. So a life for a life.”
When a detective asked him to clarify whether all four murders were “done for vengeance for the actions of the United States in the Middle East,” Muhammad Brown stated unequivocally: “Yes.” He added that he was “just doing (his) small part.”
But one of the things missing from many media accounts is Brown’s background.
Back in 2004, when he was 19, Brown was arrested and convicted of bank fraud.
In that case, between January 2002 and November 2004, Brown and three other men defrauded U.S. Bank, Bank of America, Key Bank, Washington Mutual, Wells Fargo and Boeing Employees Credit Union by depositing counterfeit and fake checks, then withdrawing funds before the checks were returned, according to charging documents filed in U.S. District Court.
He served time in federal prison for this offense.
But this wasn’t just a random bank fraud.
Brown was part of a ring of men in South Seattle that were arrested by FBI terrorism agents in 2004 and under suspicion of funding terror groups. The feds convicted Brown and some of the other men on bank fraud charges.
“The FBI was unable to actually make a terrorism conviction,” said David Gomez – the former head of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force in Seattle.
Agents couldn’t prove the money was being used to finance terrorist operations.
The group was led by Ruben Shumpert, who owned Crescent Cuts Barbershop, which the FBI raided in 2004.
He was the first in the ring to turn talk about fighting America into action.
Shumpert skipped out on this federal sentencing in 2006 and was later believe to have been killed fighting for the terrorist organization al-Shabab in Somalia. He was reportedly killed fighting US backed forces in Somalia.
Shumpert was involved in soliciting young men for jihad. Brown, 19 at the time, apparently became an adherent.
The second thing missing from the national media stories – Brown had accomplices in the killing of the young white student in New Jersey – 19 year old Jeremy Villagran, and 18 year old Eric Williams. Some media accounts also report an additional man. They drove up behind Brendan Tevlin in West Orange. They jumped out and surrounded Tevlin’s car. Brown then fired ten shots through the car window, killing Tevlin. Brown then got in Tevlin’s car, and drove to Villagran’s apartment where he left the car with the body of Tevlin in it.
While Brown, Villagran and Williams were arrested, only Brown has been charged with murder. Villagran and Williams have only been charged with robbery and weapons charges.
But if this was specifically to kill for the sake of jihad, then why were the others not arrested for murder? Are they also part of the “convert brigade”? Why was Brown not charged as a terrorist? There are both federal and statutes that would apply based on his statements, although he would likely get life if he is convicted in New Jersey. But not as a terrorist, which is what he is. We shall have to wait and see as the case unfolds to see if more charges are added later.
Brown’s other criminal past includes a March 2012, guilty plea to communication with a minor for immoral purposes, for which he was sentenced to a year in jail. He is a registered sex offender. He has also been linked a robbery and carjacking in Point Pleasant Beach, N.J., on July 13, after the Tevlin murder but before his arrest.
One more element to this story. The men that Brown killed in Seattle were approached and likely targeted because they were gay through a gay social media app.
The last man killed, the N.J. student, was not killed because he was gay; he was just set upon in his car while he was driving.