Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 10 October 2015

Plot to assassinate Obama and 'shoot or decapitate 102 black people' disrupted

By Gary Fennelly

Published 27/10/2008

This photo of Daniel Cowart, 20, from Tennessee, was posted on MySpace. He is one of two neo-Nazis arrested over a plot to assassinate Barack Obama
This photo of Daniel Cowart, 20, from Tennessee, was posted on MySpace. He is one of two neo-Nazis arrested over a plot to assassinate Barack Obama
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., speaks at a rally in Fort Collins, Colo., Sunday, Oct. 26, 2008. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

The US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms says that it has stopped a plot to assassinate Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and kill 102 black people.

The plot included plans to shoot 88 black people and decapitate another 14 in a Tennessee murder spree.

In court records unsealed today agents said they disrupted plans by two neo-Nazi skinheads to rob a gun store and target a predominantly African-American high school.

The two men - Daniel Cowart, 20, of Bells, Tennessee, and Paul Schlesselman, 18, of West Helena, Arkansas, were arrested last Wednesday by the Crockett County Sheriff’s Office. They vowed that they would be willing to die during the attempt, federal documents revealed.

It is reported that Coward and Schlesselman met on the internet about about a month ago and shared their interest in “White Power” and “Skinhead” philosophy, according to federal court documents.

Agents seized a rifle, a sawn-off shotgun and three pistols from the men when they were arrested and US authorities alleged the two men were preparing to break into a gun shop to steal more.

The court records say Cowart and Schlesselman also bought nylon rope and ski masks.

For the Obama plot, the court documents revealed that Cowart and Schlesselman "planned to drive their vehicle as fast as they could toward Obama shooting at him from the windows."

"Both individuals stated they would dress in all white tuxedos and wear top hats during the assassination attempt," the court complaint states.

Jim Cavanaugh, special agent in charge of the Nashville field office for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said that Obama was to be the final target.

"They said that would be their last, final act — that they would attempt to kill Sen. Obama," Cavanaugh said. "They didn't believe they would be able to do it, but that they would get killed trying. It is critical that the alleged plot was interrupted."

Cowart and Schlesselman are being held without bail.

They are charged with possessing an unregistered firearm, conspiring to steal firearms from a federally-licensed gun dealer, and threatening a candidate for president.

The investigation is continuing and more charges are possible, Mr Cavanaugh added.

An Obama campaign spokeswoman travelling with the senator in Pennsylvania had no immediate comment.


The plot involved a plan to shoot 88 black people and decapitate another 14. The numbers 14 and 88 are symbolic in skinhead culture.

88 refers to the eighth letter of the alphabet, H, twice, standing for "Heil Hitler". The number 14 refers to a 14-word phrase attributed to an imprisoned white supremacist: "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children."

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