Neighbor Says Accused Chicago Bomb Plotter ‘A Very Nice Guy’
(CHICAGO) — A preliminary hearing for accused Chicago bomb plotter Adel Daoud was delayed until Thursday after his attorney was granted more time to review the case.
Daoud’s attorney, Thomas Durkin, told reporters that he is “suspicious” of the charges against his 18-year-old client, whom he described as “impressionable” and “immature.”
“This doesn’t smell like a terrorism case,” Durkin said. “It smells like there’s something wrong with this case.”
While Daoud remains in custody, residents in his suburban neighborhood of Hillside said they were surprised by the news of the 18-year old’s alleged attempt to target a downtown bar last Friday night.
“I would consider him a very nice guy. He waved, talked. For a teenager seeing him cut his parents’ grass, you know, that type of thing, I would have taken him as a very good boy,” Frank Howaniac, who’s lived on the quiet residential street for 32 years, told ABC News Monday.
Howaniac was sitting outside his house at 9:30 Friday night when suddenly a caravan of federal authorities came driving down the street and went to Daoud’s house.
Another neighbor, Souha Ibrahim, said she too was taken aback by the news of the teenager’s arrest.
“I am surprised,” Ibrahim said. “I’m surprised by what he did.”
“He’s a little kid. He was just brainwashed or something. He’s so naïve,” said another neighbor, Moussa Issa. “Somehow something happened there. He was just different. He wouldn’t show up as much.”
At the Islamic Foundation School in Villa Park, where Daoud went to school, members of the school administration wanted no part of the press.
“We don’t have any statement to make at this time,” school secretary Khaja Mohiuddin told ABC News. “You are wasting your time, so please leave.”
At Daoud’s house a woman — who declined to identify herself — directed ABC News to contact Durkin. On his way into the courthouse for Daoud’s detention hearing, which was rescheduled for Thursday, Durkin, accompanied by Daoud’s father, told reporters that he was “pretty suspicious” of the allegations against the suburban teenager.
“I think a lot of questions ought to be being asked about why the government wants to detain him,” Durkin said, claiming that Daoud “wasn’t too dangerous until last Friday night.”
“I think it’s a very suspicious charge,” Durkin argued. “I think there’s a lot of suspicious facts in there.”
“Does it sound like he was on the Internet talking nonsense? Sounds like it, if the government is to be believed,” Durkin stated. “Does that mean he has radical Islamic beliefs? I don’t know. I know that my kids when they were 18 might have said some stupid stuff. Does that mean they believed it? I don’t know.”
Durkin said he had talked to people at Daoud’s school and “they’ve said that he’s very awkward socially. You saw him. I mean, he looks pretty immature to me.”
Only blocks away from the courthouse, Mike Feirstein, who owns Cal’s Liquors and Cal’s Bar on Wells St., just on the outer edges of the Loop, told ABC News that he believes his bar was the one Daoud is accused of targeting on Friday. Feirstein’s bar sits on a busy street corner, with the El train tracks directly across the street and another popular bar, Cactus, next door. The Chicago Fire Department has a station across from Cactus Bar and one firefighter told ABC News that the area was indeed the site of Daoud’s alleged attempt to detonate a fake car bomb as undercover agents stood ready to pounce.
The affidavit says Daoud settled on his unnamed target because it was a bar, a liquor store and a concert venue and would be filled with “the evilest people” on a weekend night. Cal’s was hosting musical performances from local bands on Friday.
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