Four men have been charged by a U.S. Attorney in Illinois with possessing a machine gun, and three of those men — including a former sheriff’s deputy in Illinois who ran for sheriff in 1998 — are suspected of a mosque bombing in Minnesota last August and an attempted bombing of an abortion clinic in Illinois last November.
U.S. Attorney John Childress of the Central District of Illinois announced the charges today against all four men — 47-year old Michael B. Hari, 29-year old Michael McWhorter, 22-year old Joe Morris, and 18-year old Ellis Mack, all of whom are from Clarence, IL — of possessing a machine gun. But the complaint adds that Hari, McWhorter, and Mack are also suspected in the bombing of the Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, MN on August 5, 2017. (Although worshippers were at the mosque at the time of the explosion, no one was injured.)
The three are also accused of an attempted bombing on November 7, 2017 at Women’s Health Practice, a clinic in Champaign, IL which provides abortions. Authorities were able to “neutralize” the explosive device before it went off, according to news reports at the time.
According to the complaint, McWhorter admitted the involvement of the three men in the mosque bombing and the attempted bombing of the abortion clinic, as well as the involvement of all four men in a racially-motivated home invasion in Indiana and multiple Wal-Mart robberies in Illinois:
McWhorter stated that the group believed the home was of a Hispanic drug dealer that could be robbed of the cash inside. He said the group was armed with the automatic weapons and posed as police officers executing a search warrant. However, McWhorter stated they did not find any cash in the residence. In addition, McWhorter claimed the group had conducted three Wal-Mart robberies in Illinois.
Hari is a former Ford County, IL sheriff’s deputy who ran an unsuccessful campaign for sheriff of the same county on the Libertarian ticket in 1998. In 2006, he was found guilty of abducting his two daughters in a case that was featured on The Dr. Phil Show, and was sentenced to probation.
In April 2017, Hari made the Chicago Tribune for his application as a vendor to build President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall, stating in his application that the wall would be “not just a physical barrier to immigration but also as a symbol of the American determination to defend our culture, our language, our heritage, from any outsiders.” Three months later, Hari was again arrested, this time for assaulting a neighbor in Clarence:
Hari told police that he was only trying to disarm the neighbor until police arrived. Hari said he felt threatened by the presence of a knife in a sheath attached to the neighbor’s belt, plus the fact his neighbor had a “gang tattoo” and tried to grab Hari’s cell phone as he was calling 911 during the argument.
After speaking with the neighbor, identified as Jon-Michael O’Neill, and two witnesses, Ford County Sheriff’s Lt. Curt Miller, however, determined that O’Neill never threatened Hari with a weapon or bodily harm “at any point during the incident” and that the two witnesses “both believed that (Hari) over-reacted for unknown reasons.”
The complaint also includes an “anonymous” tip full of racial epithets to the ATF that a man identified as “J.O.” had bomb-making materials on his property. According to the complaint, police investigated and found those materials, and the man and his wife accused Hari of planting them there. Later, McWhorter told investigators that he, Morris, and Hari had planted the devices on J.O.’s property to get him in trouble, and that Hari had sent the anonymous tip to the ATF.
Hari is the author of at least five books available for sale on Amazon, and the co-author of a book called Her First Self Defense Gun: A Handbook For First Time Female Gun Buyers.
You can read the full complaint here.