Skip to comments.Officer had clue before OU blast (police admit knowledge of attempted ammonium nitrate buy)
Posted on 10/06/2005 7:09:34 AM PDT by hispanarepublicana
Officer had clue before OU blast
By Randy Ellis and Ty McMahan The Oklahoman
NORMAN - Police here last week missed a chance to investigate a University of Oklahoma student three days before he apparently blew himself up Saturday outside the universitys packed football stadium, The Oklahoman has confirmed.
Joel Joe Henry Hinrichs III raised the suspicions of a Norman feed store manager and an off-duty Norman police officer Sept. 28 when he tried to buy the type of fertilizer used in the 1995 bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building.
The off-duty officer, who just happened to be in the store, was concerned enough about Hinrichs demeanor that he jotted down his license tag number and called the police department to check his identity, officials said.
Normal protocol is for that officer to submit an intelligence report when he comes back on duty, said Lt. Tom Easley, spokesman for the Norman Police Department. My understanding is that when the officer did return to work, he did submit one, but that was after the fact.
The bomb had already gone off.
Hinrichs, 21, is believed to have died in an explosion about 7:30 p.m. Saturday on a campus bench about 100 yards from Gaylord Family - Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Investigators are treating the death as a suicide. He was a junior engineering major.
Easley declined to release the intelligence report or name the officer who filed it, saying intelligence reports are confidential. A copy of the report was turned over the FBI, he said.
Dustin Ellison, general manager of Ellison Feed & Seed, said Hinrichs came to his store about 4 p.m. Sept. 28 and said he was looking for a particular kind of fertilizer called ammonium nitrate.
I told him I didnt have that, said Ellison, 25.
Ellison said he became suspicious when the young man couldnt answer the most simple questions, such as how much he wanted or what he planned to do with it.
I asked if he was trying to green up his yard, and he said, Something like that, Ellison said.
Hinrichs was wearing blue jeans, a T-shirt and a light green vest with a number of pockets on each side when he visited the store, Ellison said.
All the pockets were full, Ellison said, adding that he saw what appeared to be a wire with headphones attached protruding from one pocket.
I dont have any reason to believe it was anything other than that, he said.
Ellison said Hinrichs was alone and calm throughout his visit.
Hinrichs drove off in a blue Lincoln Towncar, Ellison said.
Ellison said FBI agents came by his store Sunday and he identified Hinrichs from photos.
Easley, the Norman police spokesman, said he is skeptical police could have stopped the bombing, even if they immediately had begun investigating when the officer first called in the license number.
Seventy-two hours on a piece of intelligence like that, I dont know what we could have done anyway, he said.
Officers could have used the tag number to get an address and then checked to see whether it was current, Easley said.
If they could identify a current address, they could have tried to question him, but that doesnt mean Hinrichs would have had to answer, he said.
Intelligence reports normally are forwarded to the police departments special operations unit, which categorizes them and decides what to do next, Easley said.
The unit deals mostly with drug investigations, so the information probably would have been forwarded to counter-terrorism officials to evaluate, he said.
Hinrichs Towncar remained outside his Norman apartment Wednesday.
The FBI apparently collected 13 plastic bottles, one car title and one insurance form from the car, according to paperwork on the front seat.
There also was a large atlas and several road maps on the front seat.
Cesar Robledo, Hinrichs next-door neighbor, said FBI agents questioned him about Hinrichs personality and habits, but didnt ask about his religion or any materials he may have taken into the house.
We always say, What do they do over there? They dont talk to us, so we dont know, said Robledo, 22. We have no idea whats on that side of the wall.
Contributing: Staff Writers Nolan Clay and Jane Cannon
What are the keywords for the list you're keeping on the Oklahoma suicide bomber?
I'll try to make sure, as I see them, that each article has the keyword so we can keep it all together.
That statement jumped out at me as well. I have started reading The Oklahoman with a eye toward paragraphs to get the information out. That was strangely worded.
D*mn! I had to drive a Chevette when I was in school. They got Town Cars these days!
I live in a Big 12 University town, and I pulled into the store parking lot here the other day in my 2000-model Chevy SUV next to a very nice black Lexus SUV. It had a sorority sticker on back and 2 college girls came out of the store and hopped in the SUV as I was getting outta my vehicle. I don't begrudge people having money and spending it, but I wonder what those girls have to look forward to from here on out? Once they're out of college and as young newleyweds/professionals just trying to get started, they're either going to be deeply disappointed or deeply in debt.......
Nothing to see here. Move along.
This whole thing is strange!
Silence everywhere. Deafening!
It looks like it's being treated as an isolated incident.
Tony Snow is going to discuss the OU bombing in just a few minutes:
FOXNews.com Media Player
This is starting to sound like McVeigh all over again and somehow I suspect that "far right extremists" would have gotten the blame again.
Listen, his goal was to kill Football fans... The reason I say so is because if you frequent the Gory and Snuff websites, like "The OGRISH" (sp?) and the like...
you will see that most "Crime Lab or Criminal Scene" photos, where a suicide has taken place, are of hangings or gun shots to the head or bank robbers who are at the end of the road and then kill themselves....., or of people jumping in front of trains or off buildings, or suicide by cop, ETC.
The suicides that have to do with BOMBs are of suicide bombers. You will see these pictures on those websites as well and the only part that remains is the tenacious and all durable head. The head doesn't explode. : ) I know it's wild.
I think America has seen it's first Suicide Bomber. Although I could be wrong.
Even on America's Most Wanted... there was a famous guy --- the Pizza Deliver Guy in NY State or PA, that was a Bank Robbers when someone forced him to go in with a Bomb secured around his neck. This guy said he was innocent and that the authorities should take the bomb off his neck. He didn't want to die.
The Bomb and Suicide combination is not the normal M.O.(Method).
Well that is my take and that's all folk... Have a great day.
Thanks for the heads up.
"Intelligence reports normally are forwarded to the police departments special operations unit, which categorizes them and decides what to do next, Easley said. The unit deals mostly with drug investigations, so the information probably would have been forwarded to counter-terrorism officials to evaluate, he said."
In other words, had he asked for grow lights with the fertilizer the police would have been all over him. These are our priorities?
julie just posted that Tony Snow will be discussing soon on his show!
Uh, Hummers? :)
I'm still waiting to hear what Tony thinks.....should be up soon.
However, the President's speech may interrupt.
Are you calling in? Doug
I recall knowing some Afghanies and Pakastanies.. in college.
When they would fly back to their countries they would be met at the airport by a limo and driver.
They were loaded... no big deal..
You had a car in college? I am impresssed.
The guy with the towncar is not a foreigner.
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