A 50-year-old Army veteran who was arrested after an eight-hour standoff with federal agents was charged on Wednesday with threatening to kill President Barack Obama. Officials said he planned to ignite a war between Muslims and Christians and “start an apocalypse,” and his Facebook page showed that he planned to burn a Koran.
Roman Otto Conaway, 50, was arrested at his home in Fairview Heights, Illinois in the early morning hours Wednesday and was scheduled to appear in federal court on Thursday. During the standoff, Conaway allegedly said a bulky belt he wore and three storage containers on his property were packed with explosives, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
Conaway eventually surrendered after officials promised him a mental health evaluation. He could face up to five years in prison if convicted on charges that he made false threats to detonate an explosive device and threatened the president.
It all apparently began on Tuesday after the St. Clair County Circuit Court barred him from contact with his grandchildren, whom he had raised for several years.
After the decision, Conaway allegedly called a local mosque and said that he wanted to begin a war between Christians and Muslims. “I want to start an apocalypse,” he said, according to the FBI.
Conaway allegedly said that he thought that Obama had threatened the Rev. Terry Jones and forced him to cancel his planned Koran burning in Florida on Sept. 11, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
At 2:12 p.m. on Tuesday Conaway wrote this message on his Facebook page:
The holy quaran will be burned in fairview heights illinois at 3:00pm. 6 other cds will be released upon my death or arrest against other countries on the internet. this is not a joke. God be with you all.
Later at 4:48 p.m. he wrote:
i need everbody with a camera phone or video phone or video cameras to come to 9030 summit drive in fairview heights illinois. the media and your goverment thinks this isa joke. im not joking
He lists his political views as “anti gov.they are way overpaid” and his religious views as “beleive in god.but beleave hes late coming back.”
A family member wrote on his Facebook page that he was “just tired of his daughter’s drug problems and the trouble they put him, his wife and son through over a period of time.” She said was upset that a court gave his grandkids to their father, who is allegedly abusive. The St. Clair County Circuit Court on Tuesday barred him from contacting his grandchildren.
The Associated Press reported that Conaway’s wife told a local television station that they raised their three young grandchildren for several years before the children’s father regained custody. Conaway’s daughter told the station she got a two-year protection order against her father on Tuesday after he threatened to kill her.
Laurie Conaway McShea, the suspect’s sister, asked on Conaway’s Facebook page that she not be contacted by reporters, but said that the family “love our brother and don’t agree with his motives…. but we agree that a court should not give a child back over to a parent who puts them in danger!”