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Police eye former Utah junior college coach in Colo. threats against Mormons, Catholics

Published: Sunday, Aug. 4 2013 11:37 a.m. MDT

Church leaders in Colorado are being warned by police about a former Utah junior college basketball coach who they say has been describing himself as an "Islamist jihadist."

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STEAMBOAT SPRING, Colo. — Church leaders in Colorado are being warned by police about a former Utah junior college basketball coach who they say has been describing himself as an "Islamist jihadist."

The police alert issued last weekend says Christopher Craig had been going around saying that Mormons and Catholics "would be destroyed" in the coming weeks, the Fort Collins Coloradoan reported.

Craig was the head coach at Utah State University Eastern in Price, Utah, from 2007 to 2010. He left that job to become an assistant at Northern Colorado University in Greeley, Colo.

He was there for one year before becoming head coach at Midland College in Texas. He resigned in March after two seasons at that school, citing only personal reasons, the Midland Reporter-Telegram reported.

Steamboat Springs police Capt. Jerry Stabile said his agency put out a bulletin to police in Colorado, Utah and other nearby states after officers had a strange encounter with Craig in mid-July.

Stabile said police received a call about a man driving around the mountain city wearing a towel on his head and sunglasses, and filming himself. When police spoke with Craig as he got cash from an ATM, he told officers that he had recently been in an Israeli jail and said that soon everyone would know his name. He did not elaborate.

Stabile said Eastern Arizona College police know the most about Craig and his background.

The Coloradoan reports that Craig was accused of entering a classroom at the college on July 10, raising a Bible in the air and responding with obscenities after asking the instructor whether he was Mormon. College spokesman Todd Haynie said a female counselor had a similar encounter.

Haynie told the Coloradan that police arrested Craig but prosecutors didn't pursue charges. Calls to Eastern Arizona College by The Associated Press were not returned.

Craig's current location is unknown.

He played college basketball at the University of Texas at El Paso after first playing junior college ball at Arizona Western College in Yuma, Ariz., according to a news release from the University of Northern Colorado announcing his hire in June 2010.

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