Skip to comments.GI hurt in LR gunfire undeterred ("I'm doing fine. PVT Long is a hero")
Posted on 06/10/2009 7:31:20 AM PDT by DCBryan1
GI hurt in LR gunfire undeterred
AP says suspect in case declared killing justified
BY DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS
The last time U.S. Army Pvt. Quinton Ezeagwula was inside a military recruiting office, he was shot, bleeding and hoping another soldier could survive his own wounds.
Even before Ezeagwula took a seat in front of waiting microphones and television lights Tuesday afternoon, The Associated Press reported that the man accused in his attack had said in a phone interview from the Pulaski County jail that firing the shots that wounded Ezeagwula and killed Pvt. William Long could not be considered murder because the act was warranted by the U.S. militarys treatment of Muslims.
Abdul-Hakim Mujahid Muhammad, 23, was born into a nominally Baptist family as Carlos Leon Bledsoe in Tennessee. But in Tuesdays interview, Muhammad, who converted to Islam in college, said he attacked the soldiers for the sake of God, for the sake of Allah, the Lord of all the world, and also a retaliation on U.S. military, the AP reported.
On Tuesday, in a recruiting office in Ezeagwulas hometown of Jacksonville 22 miles from where he was shot in west Little Rock eight days earlier the 18-year-old former high school linebacker said he hoped to become an Army drill sergeant even after the attack that left him with gunshot wounds in his back, buttocks and neck.
A lot of things run through my head at night, Ezeagwula said. Im still me. I cant pay attention to that kind of stuff.
Ezeagwula took as much care arranging a pillow on a chair to cushion a wound as he did choosing each word. He spoke sparingly with his mother, Sonja, on his right and Army Capt. Mathew Feehan on his left. He wore camouflage fatigues with his last name on his right breast.
Anytime the questions turned to the shooting itself, Feehan politely declined to let Ezeagwula answer, sometimes even placing his hand on Ezeagwulas wrist to stop him from talking.
On June 1, Long and Ezeagwula stood smoking outside the Army-Navy Career Center in the Ashley Square shopping center when a man in a dark-colored truck pulled up and opened fire. Little Rock police arrested Muhammad a short time later at the interchange of Interstate 630 and Interstate 30, and found two rifles, a semiautomatic handgun and more than 500 rounds of ammunition in the black Ford Sport Trac truck he drove.
Long, 23, died within an hour. His funeral was Monday.
Ezeagwulas wounds were serious, but his life was not in danger.
A COLLECT CALL
Police and attorneys in the case have been under a gag order since Monday morning, issued in Little Rock District Court.
A week ago, police charged Muhammad with one count of capital murder and 16 counts of committing terroristic acts in the case. Pulaski County prosecutors have until July 28 to file formal charges.
Pulaski County Prosecuting Attorney Larry Jegley, who requested the gag order, said it was his opinion that Muhammad violated it by speaking to the AP.
I find it ironic, he said. I filed the gag order to protect Mr. Muhammads right to a fair trial.
Jegley said no one in his experience had ever violated such an order.
Muhammads attorney at first hotly denied that his client spoke to the AP, which posted its first story at 1:57 p.m. Tuesday. The story cited a collect call from Muhammad but didnt say when the call arrived.
Attorney Jim Hensley said he was with Muhammad almost all day.
He didnt give the AP anything, Hensley said, adding, If my client has spoken with anyone, its without my knowledge.
Later in the day, however, Hensley softened his stance, saying he did not think Muhammad spoke with a reporter but could not be sure.
I dont know what happened, Hensley said. In later updates, the AP reported that Hensley asked the news organization in an e-mail not to publish his clients comments.
Jail records show that Hensley signed in to meet Muhammad at 11:41 a.m. Muhammad is in protective custody in an administrative segregation unit in an upstairs cell. He gets one hour a day out of his cell for exercise, though he can also be out to meet with his attorney.
Inmates in the upstairs and downstairs blocks alternate days on which they get out for their one hour during an early shift and a late shift. On odd-numbered days, prisoners in the upstairs block go out later. By 3:15 p.m., more than an hour after APs first story, Muhammads upstairs unit had yet to have its exercise hour, jail officials said.
Making a phone call from the Pulaski County jail requires help.
Some inmates purchase phone cards so they do not have to call collect. Muhammad has not bought one, jail officials said. For prisoners to make any kind of call, a deputy must first activate the phones. It was unclear Tuesday whether Muhammad had made any such request.
All Pulaski County jail calls are recorded for investigative purposes, though jail officials could not confirm Tuesday whether Muhammad had made a call. The Little Rock AP bureau didnt respond Tuesday to a request for details about the call.
In the APs story, Muhammad said his motives for the attack were clear: the killing and raping of Muslims by Americans and what he called the desecration of the Koran.
U.S. soldiers are killing innocent Muslim men and women, Muhammad said, according to the AP. We believe that we have to strike back. We believe in eye for an eye. We dont believe in turning the other cheek.
Muhammad also said his attorney had misspoken about the harshness of his treatment in a Yemeni jail in 2008. The Yemeni government has said Muhammad was arrested after overstaying his visa and was jailed for no more than four months.
The officials dealt with me in a gentle way, Muhammad said in the AP story.
Hensley said last week that Muhammads parents had begun to notice a change in him a move toward militancy only after he was in the Yemeni jail alongside people who tried to push him into hating the United States.
But in the AP story, Muhammad said he found only very good Muslim brothers among his fellow prisoners.
The attack on the recruiting office was spontaneous, though he had considered one for some time, Muhammad said in the AP story.
Its been on my mind for a while, Muhammad said in the AP story. It wasnt nothing planned really. It was just the heat of the moment you know.
GETTING BACK ON TRACK
Ezeagwula said he was already recovering. Im doing fine, he said Tuesday. He said he talks every day to a friend in the Navy, stationed in Florida, to stay grounded and focused. He also said he watches a lot of TV.
Ezeagwula and Long were fresh out of basic training and part of a voluntary Army program where new soldiers return into their hometowns before heading off to their first assignments to share their Army experiences with their friends and other potential recruits.
Ezeagwula and Long knew each other for about two weeks, Ezeagwula said.
He was a very nice person, he said of Long. Ezeagwula said he volunteered for the recruiting program for his friends to see that there was more than one path in life.
I wanted to show some of my peers that theres more things out in the United States other than Arkansas, he said.
He said he still plans to head to Schofield Barracks in Hawaii when he heals his destination before the shooting to become a 21 Echo, a heavy construction equipment operator.
Sonja Ezeagwula called her son a hero. He was a hero before he got shot, she said. He was our family hero.
Because her son avoided getting caught up in gangs or hanging out on street corners selling drugs, Sonja Ezeagwula said, he had already accomplished something important.
He was supposed to be a statistic from a dysfunctional family, she said.
She just wishes he hadnt lied to her about quitting smoking before the shooting.
You see how God has a way of revealing these things to us, she said.
Everyone in Ezeagwulas family looks at life a little differently since the shooting, she said, and feels a little more fortunate. Theyve even changed cereals, she said.
We used to eat cornflakes, but now we eat Lucky Charms, she said.
Sonja Ezeagwula said she has no ill feelings for the man who shot her son.
I just pray that justice be served, she said.
Information for this article was provided by Jacob Quinn Sanders and John Lynch of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette; and by Kelly P. Kissel of The Associated Press.
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/RICK McFARLAND
Sonja Ezeagwula watches as her son, Army Pvt. Quinton Ezeagwula, points to the spot where a bullet grazed his head when he was shot outside a military recruiting office in Little Rock on June 1.
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/RICK McFARLAND
Im doing fine, Pvt. Quinton Ezeagwula says Tuesday in an appearance before reporters and television cameras.
Muhamed: I SHOT THE SOLDIERS AS PART OF THE JIHAD AGAINST AMERICA.
0bama: Nothing to see here, senseless act of violence, no larger context.
I wish they would let his ass out in the large, open, exercise area next to Roosevelt Road and announce the time and day that he gets his 1 hour, alone, out in the open, (which is the same time the cameras go blank and all the jailers take a 10 minute coffee break).
I heard some of a taped interview with the killer this morning. He claimed that it’s not murder if you have a reason to kill someone. He believes the US military is killing innocent Muslims in Iraq, so he feels justified in killing this young American.
This makes me ill. How does someone’s thinking become so perverse? First of all, yes, it is murder. There are moral absolutes, and murder is wrong, no matter how justified someone thinks he is. Second, where did he get the idea that the US military is killing innocent Muslims? Oh, never mind, I know the answer to that.
This is what happens when we refuse to educate our children and when we refuse to take a stand as a nation.
Good job, moral relativists! Is this what you wanted?
Good for him. I saw what the prospective drills go through while I was in basic at Fort Jackson. It ain't easy. He seems to have the right attitude to do it.
This was ISLAMIC TERRORISM.....not simple murder, not just everyday violence, not gang related, not heat of the momemnt. ..
ISLAMIC TERRORISM WITH INTERNATIONAL CONNECTIONS!
May piss be upon Allah, the false moon gawd, and his pedophile, donkey f**king, pork eating false prophet, Mohammad.
relaxin’ in Ft. Jackson? I went there as a 09S in 2002.
A headline that says”..hurt in LR gunfire”instead of the truthful” wounded by Islamic terrorist” is just another example of the media pandering to the evil in the world.
Thanks for the ping!
A brave young man. His mom shows a lot of class as well. So much for the worry of Obama “looking out after his own kind”. Wonder if he even knows who this soldier is.
While this young man’s heroism and tenacity are beyond reproach, and I wish him the best of luck in the service, the simple fact remains that his Drill Sergeants are going to label him “Alphabet” because it’ll be easier than saying his last name.
At least, that’s what they did to a guy in my Basic platoon who had, IIRC, a Greek last name.
Oh, but 0bama IS looking out after his own kind -
Muslims who want to destroy America.
Just because this kid is black doesn’t make him one of “0bama’s kind”, simply because he has chosen to DEFEND his country, not destroy it.