KILLEEN, Texas (AP) - Police believe the AWOL Muslim soldier arrested with explosives near Fort Hood wouldn't have waited much longer to carry out an attack on the Army post.
Killeen police Chief Dennis Baldwin told reporters that he might be offering them a different story Thursday if a gun store clerk would not have alerted authorities about the soldier's suspicious activity and purchases.
Pfc. Naser Abdo, who went AWOL from Fort Campbell, Ky., was arrested Wednesday at a motel and is being held at the city jail. His attorney has said he's trying to reach his 21-year-old client.
The Army says Abdo had a bomb in his backpack, explosives materials in his motel room and had bought a uniform from a surplus store with Fort Hood unit patches.
Abdo has been AWOL since the 4th of July. He was granted conscientious objector status earlier this year after he told military authorities his Muslim beliefs prevented him from participating in a war. His discharge was delayed after he was charged with possessing child pornography.
Abdo is in the custody of Killeen Police while the FBI continues their investigation into the alleged planned attack. They say he will face federal charges.
Governor Rick Perry issued a statement on the arrest of Army Private Naser Jason Abdo.
"Today's arrest is a sobering reminder of the importance of remaining vigilant in the ongoing efforts to protect our communities from those that would do us harm. I am proud of the teamwork displayed between members of the Killeen community, Killeen Police Department and the FBI to recognize and report this individual's suspicious activity, and subsequently locate and detain him. Quick and diligent efforts like these save lives, and we are reminded to be thankful for our peace officers, and their continued dedication to keeping our communities and families safe. This incident also underscores the importance of citizens reporting something that doesn't seem quite right immediately to law enforcement.
"Although details are still emerging regarding this incident, we remain sensitive to the Killeen and Ft. Hood community, which was deeply impacted by the shootings that took place not long ago. That tragic day remains vivid in all our memories, and the lives lost will not be forgotten.
"It is unfortunate that we live in a world where security remains an utmost concern, but I am encouraged that lives will continue to be protected, and potential attacks thwarted, if we uphold the spirit of vigilance and cooperation displayed in this situation."
Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison also made a statement on the arrest of Naser Abdo.