Mosque bombing suspect shot dead in confrontation with FBI in Oklahoma

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A St. Johns County man wanted in the bombing of a Jacksonville mosque was shot and killed Wednesday when he pulled a weapon as agents tried to serve an arrest warrant in northwest Oklahoma, FBI officials said.

Sandlin Matthew Smith, 46, was suspected of setting off a pipe bomb at the Islamic Center of Northeast Florida nearly one year ago.

Investigators said Smith had been on the run for the last few days after acquaintances of Smith, both in northeast Florida and out of the area, tipped them off that he was involved in the mosque bombing and was in Oklahoma.

FBI Special Agent Jeff Wescott said agents learned late Tuesday that Smith was staying in a tent in a park in the rugged foothills of the Glass Mountains, near Fairview, in northwest Oklahoma.

“During the overnight hours, the Oklahoma City FBI SWAT team, along with the assistance of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, set up a perimeter around the area,” Wescott said.

Agents said that Smith refused to surrender and pulled out a firearm. Agents opened fire and killed Smith, FBI officials said. The agents involved weren’t injured.

Wescott said Smith was carrying an AK-47 when he was killed. Authorities found remnants of a crude pipe bomb at the scene, and shrapnel from the blast was found a hundred yards away.

Smith was facing several federal charges, including damage to religious property and possession of a destructive device, in connection with the May 10, 2010, bombing.

WJXT Jacksonville, 4 May 2011

It will be interesting to see how much attention this case receives on, say, Fox News. Considerably less than if it had been a Muslim suspected of carrying out a bombing who had been shot by the FBI, I’ll bet.