Posted: 1/9/2003 5:44:16 AM EDT
back on street
Knife-wielding man screaming threats
against Americans bonds out of jail
Posted: January 8, 2003
5:00 p.m. Eastern
By Joe Kovacs
© 2003 WorldNetDaily.com
A knife-wielding man accused of threatening Americans aboard an Amtrak train this week is now a free man after bonding out of an east Texas jail.
21-year-old Gerardo Bedia was released on a $10,000 bond yesterday after facing a charge of making a terroristic threat.
Bedia allegedly caused a huge commotion aboard a train in the town of Big Sandy Sunday when – armed with a plastic knife designed specifically to elude detection – he screamed, "I'll kill you!" and "F--- America, you will all die," according to the police report.
The man, whose ticket showed a destination of Chicago, was speaking English, Spanish and "some form of Arabic language."
Officials believe Bedia is an American citizen from Corpus Christi, Texas, but they're unsure about his personal history.
"His picture suggests a Hispanic or Middle Eastern background or ethnicity," Police Chief Ronnie Norman told WorldNetDaily.
Authorities have been unable to find any criminal history for Bedia, but the FBI was contacted to assist in the investigation since federal statutes regarding the interference with interstate commerce came into play.
Asked whether he thought this was part of a designed terror attack against Americans, Norman said, "I just don't know enough about the individual to make that determination, the possible motive. I just don't know."
The incident began Sunday evening when officers responded to a call about a man causing problems aboard the San Antonio-to-Chicago voyage.
The responding officer was told the "extremely intoxicated" suspect armed with a knife had threatened to kill another passenger if authorities were told the assailant was not an American.
Norman described the knife as a stealth weapon, a polymer carbon-reinforced knife designed to defeat metal detectors. It was a folding knife, and was in the open position when police arrived.
"I've seen knives like that in publications dealing with terrorist activity," he said, "but this is the first one up close and personal. It's a very scary weapon. It'd kill you in a heartbeat; it'll cut your throat in a second."
Bedia also reportedly shouted "All Americans will die!" during the course of the incident.
Reminiscent of passengers aboard United Flight 93 on Sept. 11, travelers aboard the train finally fought back, subduing Bedia and holding him on the floor until authorities arrived.
"When commercial passengers are threatened ever since 9-11, they have an attitude of 'I'm not gonna go down without a fight and have my tail between my legs,'" Norman told WorldNetDaily.
During his arrest, Bedia allegedly grabbed hold of a policeman's gun, but released it when he was swatted on the hand by Officer Shane Lakes.
His violent behavior reportedly continued even after he was booked into the Upshur County Jail. Once inside the holding cell and handcuffs removed, he began screaming loudly, running into the cell's bars and concrete walls.
He then screamed that Lakes would die from a bullet wound to the head and tried spitting blood from his nose and mouth at Lakes and the jailer. He was sprayed with pepper spray after disregarding warnings, according to the police report.
The FBI says after assisting with the preliminary investigation, they are not filing any federal charges, referring the matter to the district attorney for Upshur County, where Bedia will face a Texas charge of making a terroristic threat, a third degree felony punishable by two to five years in the state penitentiary.
"The U.S. attorney's office has declined prosecution on federal charges," the FBI's Peter Galbraith told WorldNetDaily.
"Our job right now is prevention," he said." The [FBI] director and attorney general have issued an edict that no rock is left unturned. We're building up our intelligence base so any terrorist cells anywhere in the country we can discover."
This morning's banner headline on the weekly Big Sandy and Hawkins Journal reads "Terrorism hits home."
"Truck bombs, germ warfare, hijacked trains and planes have been on the minds of Big Sandy residents and the rest of small town America since 9-11," wrote Journal editor Danielle Dupree.
"However, in the back of those same minds also lingers the hope that 'it could never happen here.' On Sunday night those hopes were shattered."
A sheep with a gun, is still a sheep.
Si vis pacem, para bellum.