LITTLE ROCK, Ark — A man with "political and religious motives" killed a soldier just out of basic training and wounded another Monday in a targeted attack on a military recruiting center in Arkansas, police said. The shootings were not believed to be part of a broader scheme.
A police report based on an interview with the suspect says Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, 23, told police he observed two soldiers in uniform, drove up to the recruiting center in Little Rock and started shooting.
"He saw them standing there and drove up and shot them," Lt. Terry Hastings told The Associated Press. "That's what he said."
Muhammad had converted to Islam at some point in his life and interviews with police show he "probably had political and religious motives for the attack," Police Chief Stuart Thomas said.
Muhammad, previously known as Carlos Bledsoe, was not part of a larger group nor was his attack part of a larger conspiracy, Thomas said.
"We believe that it's associated with his disagreement over the military operations," the police chief said.
The two soldiers who were shot had completed basic training within the past two weeks and were not regular recruiters, said Lt. Col. Thomas F. Artis of the Oklahoma City Recruiting Battalion, which oversees the Little Rock office.
William Long, 23, died, and Quinton Ezeagwula, 18, was wounded and in stable condition, Police Chief Stuart Thomas said.
Police arrested Muhammad, 23, along an interstate highway moments after the shootings. Thomas said Muhammad would be charged with first-degree murder, plus 16 counts of committing a terroristic act. Thomas said those counts result from the gunfire occurring near other people.
Witnesses told police that a man inside a black vehicle pulled up outside the recruiting center and opened fire about 10:30 a.m. Long fell onto the sidewalk outside the center while Ezeagwula was able to crawl toward its door.
Police said an assault rifle and other weapons were found in the vehicle when Muhammad was arrested.