The Federal Bureau of Investigations is assisting in the investigation of an incident early Sunday morning involving the deliberate crash of a pickup truck into a gate at the Grand Haven Coast Guard station in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Police received a call just minutes before the attack from an unknown man claiming to have a bomb in his truck and threatened he was going to blow up Station Grand Haven. Police arrested a suspect at the scene, but no bomb was recovered.
The suspect, identified only as a 34 year old Michigan man, crashed a Dodge Ram pickup truck into the gate at the Grand Haven Coast Guard station shortly before 6 a.m. Sunday morning, after Ottawa County Dispatch said the same man phoned in a bomb threat. The man then charged the station and assaulted a Coast Guard employee, who suffered minor injuries. U.S. Coast Guard personnel were able to restrain the suspect until Grand Haven Public Safety officers arrived.. FBI officials said Sunday morning’s incident was terrorism related–despite the bomb threat, because no bombs were found.
In the more than thirteen years since 9/11, there have been several deliberate incidents in the United States involving vehicles deliberately mowing down crowds, injuring dozens of unsuspecting victims. In 2002, when the U.S. Department of Homeland Security was formally established, the agency designated the FBI as the lead agency in all cases in which acts of terrorism are suspected–until it can be ruled out. In March, 2006, a 22 year old man, Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar, an Iranian-American Muslim ran his SUV onto an area of the campus known as “the Pit” of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, striking nine students. Taheri-Azar, dubbed the “drive-through Jihad” by locals pleaded guilty to nine counts of attempted first-degree murder was sentenced to a prison term of at least 26 years and up to 33 years. Taheri-Azar told police after his arrest that he had wanted to “avenge the deaths or murders of Muslims around the world.”
In 2010, the FBI issued a bulletin to law enforcement agencies across America warning that terrorists or “lone wolf” sympathizers could attack using a car, and driving one at high speeds into a crowd as an alternative to bombs. The FBI advisory said a car or truck “offers terrorists with limited access to explosives or weapons an opportunity to conduct a Homeland attack with minimal prior training or experience.” In recent issues of Inspire, an online propaganda magazine distributed by al Qaeda in Yemen aka AQAP, urged supporters to create “a mowing machine, not to mow grass but mow down the enemies of Allah.” In 2014, the online propaganda magazine Dabiq, issued by the Islamic State or ISIS urged followers to kill Westerners by any available means –including car bombs and driving cars into crowds.