On Friday, an airport worker at the Wichita Mid-Continent Airport was charged with planning a suicide bombing. The suspect’s name is Terry Lee Loewen. He is an avionics technication who was arrested earlier in the day when he attempted to use his security clearance to drive a vehicle that he believed had explosives in it, onto the tarmac of the airport.
The car contained only fake explosives. According to U.S. Attorney Barry Grisson, Loewen had spent months planning out his attack. In a news conference, Grissom said that Loewen is being charged with, “one count of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, one count of attempting to damage property with explosives and one count of attempting to provide support to a foreign terrorist organziation.” If convicted of these charges, Loewen will face life in prison.
Many of Loewen’s neighbors found themselves in shock upon hearing of the attempted suicide bombing. Richard McKown said, “I can’t believe it. This is a pretty close-knit neighborhood, but they kind of kept to themselves. You’d see them come and go. Sometimes they’d wave. Sometimes they wouldn’t.” Kyia Reed added, “We just went trick-or-treating down there a month or so ago. It’s a normal house, normal decorations. We saw him and his wife, both normal people.”
As we often see in cases similar to this, neighbors painted a picture of Loewen as a quiet and subdued man.
NBC News reported what Loewen spent much of his time becoming radicalized and was determined to die in his blast as a martyr. Loewen is white but became radicalized after reading Islamic material online. Grissom confirmed, “Since early summer, he was resolved to take an act of violent jihad against the U.S.”
In one message Loewen said, “Let me preface the bottom line by saying I have become ‘radicalized’ in the strongest sense of the word, and I don’t feel Allah wants me any other way.”
The AP reported that Loewen’s plot was aimed at supporting al-Quadia.
Authorities seem to be confident that the man acted alone on the plot.