8.12.06

TOO MUCH EXCITEMENT. Cherry Vale Mall the next ground zero?

Derrick Shareef, 22, of Rockford was arrested Wednesday when he met with an undercover agent in a parking lot to trade a set of stereo speakers for four hand grenades and a handgun. According to an FBI affidavit, he was planning on planting the grenades in garbage cans in the CherryVale Mall with an accomplice who was really an FBI informant.

A handcuffed Shareef appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Maria Valdez, who ordered him held without bond and set a Dec. 20 hearing on a motion for bail, made by defense attorney Michael Mann.

According to the affidavit, the DeKalb County courthouse was among several government targets Shareef considered attacking.

“I don't talk calm when it comes to this,” the affidavit quotes him telling the informant. “'Cause man, the courthouse in DeKalb where I be going every month ... You go in there and you clock the first three (guards) at the door that they got, and you up in there, you know what I'm saying?”

The 10 pm news has focused on this story to the exclusion of all else. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has been interested in the suspect for the past month or two. (This plot has in common with the June Sears Tower plot that the ringleader -- here an individual actor -- was so eager to acquire materiel for his effort that he didn't bother vetting a supplier.) Cherry Valley law enforcement were, per FBI procedures, not alerted until the suspect was in custody. Rockford area Moslems are distancing themselves from the suspect, who, all and sundry emphasize, acted alone. (Editorial note: the WIFR-TV stories linked above all have embedded links to video, should readers wish to go multimedia.)

A person acting alone, on a private grievance rather than a transformative vision, is also capable of creating a great deal of havoc. This evening, commuter train service out of the Ogilvie Transportation Center was badly disrupted after an individual took hostages and killed some people in a law office upstairs. The entire building was cleared on police orders just before the start of the rush hour. Evening train service resumed at 5.19. In lieu of regular service, available rakes were positioned, loaded, and sent out when filled to make all stops on their assigned routes. The Chicago newspapers and broadcasters have ongoing coverage, with more information and analysis likely to be available Saturday.

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