SEATAC, Wash. — The father of one of the two men charged with planning to attack a Seattle military recruiting station said he's shocked, but videos apparently posted by the suspect on YouTube show a man sympathetic to al-Qaida's leader in Yemen and passionate about a radical interpretation of Islam.
Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif has a criminal record and a troubled family past, but allegations that he plotted a terrorist attack surprised those who knew him.
"He never spoke to anybody," Aziz Junejo, a spokesman for the SeaTac mosque, said Friday as he pointed to the spot where Abdul-Latif often sat. "He was sort of anti-social in that sense. It was completely a shock to us."
Abdul-Latif's videos strayed on a range of topics — from U.S. politics to Muslim doctrine to the British royal wedding. He praises fighters in the videos, asking for blessings for those who struggle for the cause of Allah. And, at some points, he calls for action.
"We must establish jihad," Abdul-Latif said in a video posted in May. "I don't care what anybody says about that: You can turn me in to the FBI or whatever. We need to establish jihad with the tongue, with the heart and with the hand."
In particular, Abdul-Latif singles out U.S.-born Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. The United States has put the radical Muslim leader, now in Yemen, on a kill-or-capture list, something that irked Abdul-Latif about President Barack Obama.
"He's made war against Islam," Abdul-Latif said. "He's even put a hit out on Anwar Al-Awlaki, our brother sheikh — may Allah protect him."
The Associated Press could not independently confirm the YouTube account was Abdul-Latif's, but the name and age posted on the account match him, and the videos appear to depict him.
Abdul-Latif, 33, also known as Joseph Anthony Davis, was arrested Wednesday with Walli Mujahidh, 32, following an investigation prompted by an informant who told authorities the two men wanted to attack a military facility in the Seattle area.
The two men were taken into custody after they showed up at a warehouse garage to pick up machine guns they planned to use in the attack, authorities said Thursday. The weapons had been rendered inoperable by federal agents and posed no risk to the public.
They are scheduled to attend a bail hearing next week.
"I'm shocked," Tony Davis, Abdul-Latif's father, told KOMO News. "I'm really sad that that's my oldest son."
Court documents show that Abdul-Latif has had a troubled life, which in part he blamed on his upbringing.
Abdul-Latif was born in San Diego and graduated from Hoover High School there in 1996, said Jack Brandais, a spokesman for San Diego Unified School District.
His parents divorced when he was a teen, according to an interview he gave for a psychological evaluation before his 2002 conviction for robbing a convenience store in Bremerton, Wash.
Abdul-Latif reported having "a lot of abandonment" growing up, the report said. He was raised by his mother until he was 12, when he moved in with his father, who was absent for long periods of time "and neglected to provide enough food and other essentials."
His grades in high school were below average and he acknowledged to using drugs, according to the documents.
Abdul-Latif's wife, Binta Moussa-Davis, told television station KING she was shocked.
"He's proud to be American. He loves his own country. He loves his family," she said. "I don't know if he got involved with bad people. I don't have any idea."
On Friday, Moussa-Davis, who is originally from Niger, went to the SeaTac mosque to ask for financial aid from worshippers, The Seattle Times reported.
"My husband worked to take care of me," said Moussa-Davis, 46. "I don't know how to pay. He's the one to pay for food and rent."
He and Mujahidh are charged in federal court with conspiracy to murder officers and employees of the United States, conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction, and possession of firearms in furtherance of crimes of violence. Abdul-Latif is also charged with two counts of illegal possession of firearms.
It wasn't immediately clear how the suspects became acquainted, though Mujahidh formerly lived in Seattle. He was convicted in municipal court of violating a domestic violence protection order stemming from a 2007 incident.
Mujahidh voluntarily spoke with investigators after the arrests and confessed, according to the federal complaint against them.
There was no answer at Moussa-Davis' apartment Friday. A truck for Abdul-Latif's janitorial business, Fresh N' Clean, sat parked near his two-bedroom apartment. An American flag lay on the floor of the vehicle. Apartment managers posted notices on every door informing tenants that a man had been arrested.
A man who answered Tony Davis' phone number Saturday said, "We don't want to talk to anybody about what's going on with our son."
Downstairs neighbor James Dinwiddie said he would often see Abdul-Latif with his young son, and he seemed to be an attentive father. But Dinwiddie also said that fights would sometimes erupt in the apartment between Abdul-Latif and younger men who might be his son and stepson.
"He looked like a normal person," Dinwiddie said. "I showed him respect because he showed me respect."
Dinwiddie said there was no indication that Abdul-Latif adhered to radicalism or that he had trouble with the law.
"I never thought I'd be living by a terrorist," said Mozaia Walton, who lives one floor down. "I'm just glad they got him."
In audio and video recordings, the men discussed the plot at length, discussing how to time their attack at military recruits, such as by tossing grenades in the cafeteria, the complaint said.Comment on this story
"If we can get control of the building and we can hold it for a while, then we'll get the local news down there, the media down there, you know what I'm saying," Abdul-Latif was quoted in a court document as saying. "It's a confined space, not a lot of people carrying weapons, and we'd have an advantage."
Contributing to this report were Associated Press counterterrorism reporter Eileen Sullivan in Washington, D.C., AP writer Mike Baker in Olympia, Wash., and correspondent Elliot Spagat in San Diego.