WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) UPDATE (10/19/16): Three men are officially indicted by a federal grand jury.
Curtis Allen, Gavin Wright and Patrick Stein are officially charged with conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction.
The three men were arrested on Friday after investigators say they planned to detonate car bombs at an apartment complex and mosque in Garden City.
The FBI says the men specifically targeted Somalis and Muslims.
If convicted, they face up to life in prison.
UPDATE (10/17/16): The family of Patrick Stein has released a brief statement following the arrest of her son along with two others.
In her statement, which was released through an attorney, she says her family is "shocked and devastated" by the situation. She says "we do not support discrimination of any sort and have never advocated or condoned violence as a solution to differences".
She thanked law enforcement and stated that no members of the family wish to comment further on the matter.
READ FAMILY STATEMENT
The three suspects are part of a militia group called the "Kansas Security Force," according to investigators. Monday, the KANSAS SECURITY FORCE GROUP distanced itself from the suspects, saying it has no intention of violence.
Representatives of a NATIONAL MOVEMENTassociated with the Kansas Security Force also say they have no connection to the suspects and do not condone their actions.
Three men charged for plotting to blow up an apartment complex and mosque in Garden City and inhabited by refugees, appeared in federal court Monday morning.
Patrick Stein, Curtis Allen and Gavin Wright appeared before a judge in street clothing. All were in hand and leg cuffs.
All three are charged with conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction. A charge that carries the penalty of life imprisonment.
During the first appearance, all three men were assigned defense attorneys. Edward Robinson was appointed to Stein; Kari Schmidt will represent Wright, and Steve Gradert will represent Allen.
If a grand jury decides not to indict the men, a preliminary hearing for all three will be held on Oct. 28/
Stein and Wright have a detention hearing on Friday at 1:30 p.m. Allen, who says he is under the care of the VA, is scheduled for Oct. 24 at 4 p.m. due to a scheduling conflict with his attorney.
All three men will remain in the custody of the U.S. Marshal custody. They will be transferred out of Sedgwick County to jails in either Butler County or Harvey County.
UPDATE: 8:30 p.m.: Sunday, Eyewitness News spoke with the twin brother of suspect Curtis Allen, who says the family is shocked by Allen's arrest and the potential charges he faces. Curtis's twin brother, Kevin Allen, spoke with Brittni Thomason about their upbringing and how the family is coping with the news.
Eyewitness News also got reaction from Congressional candidates in the state about what, if anything, needs changed with how law enforcement investigates and responds to incidents like this.
Finally, we spoke with explosives experts about the impact weapons planned for the attack could have had.
The three suspects in the plot are scheduled to appear in federal court at 10:30 a.m. Monday.
UPDATE-- Sunday, 10/17 (3:30 p.m.): Prosecutors say the three men accused of plotting to detonate truck bombs around a small apartment complex were about 120 Somali residents live, do not yet have attorneys.
CBS News reports the men: Curtis Allen, Patrick Stein and Gary Wright, also talked about attacking some area churches that have helped settle refugees and helped them land jobs at Tyson
Saturday, Garden City Police Chief Michael Utz told concerned Muslims gathered for a briefing that they are "safe in Garden City and safe in the Untied States of America."
Mada Jama, a Somalian who works at Tyson Foods says he's always felt welcomed in Garden City.
"I see white people at Tyson, at the gas station, everywhere, and everyone is my friend," he said. "I don't know what's going on here."
Former Garden City Mayor and candidate for state senate, John Doll, said he was told he was one of the targets discussed by the three men accused in the plot.
"This is terrible, because these people they targeted are great people; they work hard, pay taxes, obey the laws," he said. "Why would anyone want to hurt them?"
UPDATE (5:19 p.m.) Garden City Police and community members held a meeting Saturday to discuss how the community plans to move forward a day after three men were arrested for planning a domestic terrorist attack.
Countless people showed up to listen to Garden City Police Michael Utz explain the investigation about the planned attack.
A translator helped Somali community members address their concerns, but they were assured there is no longer any reason to be scared.
"I didn't sleep very well, but today when I saw the police and heard the police, all the people in the community coming here, I was feeling very, very happy," said Frah Farah, a community member. "I will sleep very well tonight."
Garden City Police say community members can help the community safe by reporting any suspicious activity.
UPDATE (4:45 p.m.) Dr. John Birky, a physician helping to a create a clinic and working with refugees on a language program, said several hundred Somali residents live in the area of the shooting, CBS News reported.
Birky told CBS News between 300 and 500 Somali refugees live in the area. The state Department for Children and Families said of 906 refugees who arrived in Kansas from October 2014 to January 2016, 68 were from Somalia. That equates to 7.5 percent.
Birky said most Somali refugees are fleeing militants in Somalia and want to assimilate once they reach Kansas, CBS reported.
"They're trying to make a better life for their families here," Birky said. "They want to pursue the American dream."
UPDATE (3:30 p.m.): Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and U.S. Representative Mike Pompeo released statements Saturday about the thwarted bomb plot in Garden City Friday.
Clinton released the following:
"I applaud law enforcement for detecting and disrupting a highly disturbing terror plot in Kansas, in which men were allegedly planning an elaborate attack directed at Muslim Americans, including directing four car bombs at an apartment complex housing more than 100 men, women, and children. This plot is an affront to all Americans. We all must stand firm in fighting terror and rejecting hateful and divisive rhetoric--and we must do it together. According to the FBI, their eight-month investigation uncovered 'a hidden culture of hatred and violence.' We should all be grateful to law enforcement for preventing this plot from being carried out, and as President, I will work with law enforcement at all levels and with our communities to make sure we have the tools we need to prevent both domestic and international terrorist threats."
Pompeo -- a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence -- released this statement:
"I want to extend my sincere gratitude and thanks to all law enforcement officers involved in thwarting this attack in Kansas. Everyone in our state, and in the country, owes much to the men and women of the FBI and police who protect us from threats both foreign and domestic. We must remain vigilant against attacks directed toward any American and condemn this type of violence. Threats like this remind us of the critical need to provide our law enforcement and intelligence officials with the tools and support they need to keep us safe."
UPDATE (10/14/16): Three men were arrested on Friday for threatening to attack an apartment complex and mosque in Garden City.
Acting U.S. Attorney Tom Beall says Curtis Allen, 49, Gavin Wright, 51, and Patrick Stein were all charged with domestic terrorism.
Beall said the three were planning to bomb an apartment complex and mosque in Garden City occupied by a Muslim community of about 120 Somali refugees.
Beall said the men planned to carry out the attack on Nov. 9, the day after Election Day.
He said the men stockpiled a large cache of firearms, and ammunition.
Beall said the men planned to park vehicles full of explosives at all four corners of the Garden City apartment complex. The men said they wanted to "wake people up".
Beall said the men wrote a manifesto, which they wanted published after the bombing.
According to an affidavit, the were a part of a group called the Kansas Security Force and the Crusaders.
"These are militia groups whose members support and espouse sovereign citizen, anti-government, anti-Muslim, and anti-immigrant extremist beliefs," read the affidavit.
Beall said the men's arrest is a part of an eight month long investigation.
Eyewitness News first learned about the investigation when Liberal police and the FBI shutdown multiple streets in town on Tuesday.
All three men are currently in the Sedgwick County jail on one count of conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction.
If convicted, all three could face life in prison.
The Garden City Mayor and Police Chief issued the following statements Friday evening:
"Our community is forever grateful for the protection provided to us every day, but especially today in learning of the thwarted attack on our community. I’m shocked, but at the same time extremely proud of and grateful for the efforts of local, state, and federal law enforcement. Today should also serve as a reminder that vigilance should be a common practice by all citizens. ‘See something, say something’ is a cause we should champion each day even in a rural community like Garden City. I would encourage anyone that sees something suspicious to call 911."
Mayor Chris Law
"The GCPD was aware of the investigation, and has cooperated with the FBI since the onset. We have been assured that all individuals involved are in custody, and that the safety of the community was ensured throughout the investigation. All inquiries about the investigation, arrest, and prosecution are referred to the US Attorney’s Office and the FBI.”
Chief Michael Utz
Federal officials are expected to announce three arrests involving a major investigation this afternoon.
According to a news release from Acting U.S. Attorney Tom Beall, the three were arrested Friday following that investigation.
Eyewitness News called the Liberal Police Department to get an update on the incident that occurred on Tuesday, in which there were multiple road closures and the FBI was assisting.
The department said the FBI would hold a news conference at 4 p.m., the same time the U.S. Attorney is expected to make an announcement on a major investigation.
Eyewitness News will carry that press conference live on KSCW-33 and here at www.kwch.com.