ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - A couple of months ago, President Obama said what he fears most is not necessarily another organized attack by al-Qaeda, but rather an attack by a lone wolf sympathetic to the cause.
A source close to the investigation describes 25-year old Sami Osmakac as “A man on his own mission”.
Tampa Police, who arrested the 25-year-old last year on assault charges after a concert, released a video of him making religiously charged remarks on the internet.
“My message is if you don’t accept Islam, you’re going to hell,” he says on the video.
But this video and others attributed to him on the internet paint a picture of a young man becoming increasingly fanatic in his religious views.
Osmakac lived with his family in a Pinellas Park neighborhood. His family members are naturalized Americans originally from the former Yugoslavia.
Up until about a year ago, Osmakac worked at his family’s St. Petersburg bakery. But at some point, he left, went to Turkey and found religion, according to his father.
“He went to religion more last year,” his father Asslam said.
Osmakac’s father said his son became an increasingly observant Muslim, but not a terrorist.
“This is a mistake,” he said.
But in the arrest affidavit, federal authorities paint a picture of a young man who somehow became radicalized. The affidavit quotes Osmakac telling a cooperating witness, “If we’re all going to die, why not die the Islamic way” referring to the potential victims of his bomb plot.
“It’s a total shock. I feel bad for the whole family," Danny Bolin said.
Bolin owns a barber shop a few doors down from a St. Petersburg bakery owned by the Osmakac family.
He used to cut Sami’s hair and describes an increasingly isolated young man.
“He just wanted to explain everything about the Koran to me and what he was feeling so strong about,” Bolin said.
But Bolin never dreamed Osmakac would be the kind of person to cook up a terrorist plot.
Law enforcement sources tell the I-Team Osmakac was looking for something in his life.
He was “Running from one religious organization to another looking for a home,” the source close to the investigation tells us.
More: See the original YouTube video at http:// www.abcactionnews.com/ dpp/news/ region_tampa/police-say-terror-suspect-sami-osmakac-appears-in-online-video
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Southbound Dale Mabry is closed at Walnut Street (2 blocks north of I-275) after a pedestrian was hit and killed by a fuel tanker Friday morning.