2015-02-04 / Features

Terrorist Takes Dive From Queens Hi-Rise

BY LIZ GOFF
A 30-yer-old Kuwaiti native charged in a federal complaint with plotting the 2007 failed attack on the Homestead Air Base in Miami allegedly jumped to his death from a Kew Gardens high-rise on January 18, law enforcement sources said.

Tahmeed Ahmed was armed with two 15-inch butcher knives and two bottles of vodka when the stormed the gates at Homestead in 2007, shouting “Death to America” as FBI agents nabbed him in the foiled attack, the sources said.

Ahmad, a naturalized American citizen, later told investigators he purchased th4e knives at a local Walmart and planned to turn th vodka into makeshift molitav cocktails, the sources said.

Ahmad, who earned honors at the prestigious Stuyvesant High School before moving on to a scholarship at the City University of New York, gave investigators no indication that he was working with a terrorist organization when he plotted the attack, federal law enforcement sources said.

The sources said Ahmad, while in school, lived with his mother in Queens and later moved to Florida, where he worked as a math teacher until his 2007 arrest. He was in-and-out of psychiatric care facilities for years before he stormed the gates at Homeland, the sources said.

Ahmad told investigators following his arrest that he plotted the attack to commit “suicide by cop,” hoping he would be shot and killed by guards at the air base, the sources said.

Florida magistrate Federico Morena subsequently ruled Ahmad unfit to stand trial on the federal charges and ordered him into custody at a federal psychiatric facility in Butner, North Carolina, the sources said. He was released from the program in 2010 and ordered to submit to strict parole guidelines that banned him from working with children and prohibited him from traveling without explicit authorization by parole officials, court records state.

AT that time, Ahmad was also added to the FBI “No-Fly” list that identifies and restricts air travel by known and potential terrorists.

Ahmad received approval to move back to Queens following his release from the federal program, to a modest, two-story hoe in East Elmhurst that he shared with his mother, federal law enforcement sources said. He reached out to former Stuyvesant classmates in 2010 and acquainted himself with young football players at the Manhattan-based school – a direct violation of his Florida parole requirements, the sources said.

Ahmed “fell off the radar” shortly thereafter, resurfacing in 2014 when he petitioned Morena, now Chief Judge of the South Florida District, to ease or revoke parole restrictions Moreno imposed on him in 2010, the sources said.

In a 2014 letter to Moreno, Ahmad said he had “matured” since his arrest on the Homeland charges and he wanted to return to his passion – teaching football, the sources said.

Moreno denied the request several months later saying, “In this day and age, that is not going to happen,” federal law enforcement sources said.

Ahme received news of the denial on January 15 and on January 18 he moved into a room he rented on the Airbus real estate website, on the 32nd floor of the Court Plaza in Kew Gardens, the sources said. Shortly after he finished unpacking, Ahmad walked onto a balcony at the hi-rise and jumped the 32-stories to his death, authorities said. A doorman made the grisly discovery at about 2:30 p.m. on January 18 – Ahmad’s lofeless body, face-up on a center plaza outside the front door of the complex.

Investigators said Ahmad did not leave a note or other indication why he decided to take his life at that time.

The FBI and the NYPD are investigating the circumstances surrounding Ahmad’s death, authorities said. Authorities said they do not believe foul play was involved in the death.

 

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