I know he was AWOL, but setting that aside, what did he do wrong?
The Killeen police received information from the owners of a local gun store about a “suspicious” male who asked about smokeless gun powder and then proceeded to buy three boxes of 12 GA ammunition, smokeless gunpowder, a magazine for a Springfield 9mm pistol. Abdo paid for the items with cash and then left in a cab.
Killeen police went to the cab company, and after questioning them learned that the same person had also gone to a surplus store and purchased (cash) a military uniform and patches for a unit at Fort Hood.
After learning this, KPD arrested the individual.
Jeebus cripes on a rubber crutch, are there problems with this.
1—The gun store, which coincidentally is the same one that sold Nidal “Hotwheels” Hassan his guns—had every right to refuse to sell Abdo anything. They are a private business, who reserves the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason. If they thought he was “suspicious,” why the hell did they sell him anything?
Other than that, is there anything this guy did that was patently illegal? He bought some ammunition, some smokeless powder, and a magazine. He bought a uniform at a surplus store with patches from a local Ft. Hood unit. Guess what? Lots of guys buy extra uniforms and patches from pawn shops/surplus stores around military bases. If they are serviceable, they are often much cheaper than buying new at the PX. Same goes for patches, which are usually only a buck or two at the surplus stores, but can run $4 or more, each, at the PX.
A few weeks ago, I purchased, all at once, 9mm ammo, .12 gauge 00 Buckshot, .12 gauge Slug, .12 gauge #6 shot, .38 special ammo, .40 ammo, and .45 ammo. (And maybe others, I don’t remember.) I also bought, at the same time, a spotting scope, targets, and asked about some other calibers I didn’t see. In all, I spent about $300 at the gun store. Nothing about that was criminal, and neither was Abdo buying some .12 Gauge rounds, smokeless powder, or a magazine for a pistol.
I wonder what charges the police originally used to arrest him? He was AWOL—but generally the police don’t arrest for that alone, they have to have a reason, some form of probable cause or some reason to believe you’re up to shenanigans before they arrest you. Abdo then did what generally stupid people do, he talked to the police. If he’d refused to say anything, he’d have been turned over to the Army, they would have sent him back to Fort Campbell, and they’d have likely just chaptered him out—presto chango, you’re a civilian with an other than honorable or dishonorable discharge.
Don’t get me wrong, Abdo is an asshat, but I am more concerned that a) the gun store sold him gunpowder and ammunition even though they felt he was acting “suspiciously”—what if his next stop was Ft. Hood, and the gunpowder the last component for whatever he was planning? And b) I can’t see anything he did that day in Killeen that was illegal, let alone reason to be arrested for doing any of it.