A Seattle man accused in a nationwide murder spree that has claimed four victims, including two gay men in Seattle, has told investigators that he had launched his own “jihad” against Americans as an act of “vengeance” to retaliate for U.S. military action in the Middle East.
Ali Muhammad Brown, 29, is charged with the murder of three men in Washington state and a 19-year-old college student in New Jersey and a teen boy in New Jersey. Brown was captured on July 18 in West Orange, N.J.
The Los Angeles Times reports that, according to a criminal complaint filed in King County, Wash., Brown took responsibility for each shooting and told investigators he carried out the killings to gain retribution for lives lost during U.S. military action in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.
“My mission is my mission between me and my lord. That’s it,” Brown said during a jailhouse interview in New Jersey, according to the court filings. “My mission is vengeance, for the lives, millions of lives are lost every day.”
Prosecutors say Brown is a devout Muslim who had become angered by U.S. military intervention in the Islamic world, which he referred to as “evil.”
Police believe Brown met the victims through a personal meetup mobile app targeting gay men, according to court documents.
Investigators say Brown fled to New Jersey after the Seattle murders.
It was in West Orange, N.J. where Brown allegedly shot and killed 19-year-old Brendan Tevlin in a June 25 robbery that turned violent where Brown fired 10 shots into the college student’s vehicle, which was stopped at a red light.
Last week, Brown was charged in King County, Wash., with a fourth murder. Prosecutors believe Brown shot and killed 30-year old Leroy Henderson on April 27 in Skyway.
Brown’s accomplices, Jeremy Villagran, 19, and Eric Williams, 18, are also facing murder, robbery and weapons charges.
Brown remains in custody in New Jersey. Prosecutors in Washington state say if convicted, Brown faces either life in prison without parole or the death sentence.
And at least one national security expert says Brown could eventually be charged with terrorism.
“If he’s got the motivation that he announced he has, which is to exact revenge for the U.S. killing of Muslims in that part of the world, he’s a terrorist,” said William C. Banks, Director of the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism at Syracuse University. “It’s a matter of motivation.”