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August 26, 2008

A Foiled Plot to Kill Obama (Updated)

Topics: News Summary

At least four people are under arrest in connection with a possible plot to kill Barack Obama at his Thursday night acceptance speech in Denver. Unbelievable:

BS4 Investigator Brian Maass reported one of the suspects told authorities they were "going to shoot Obama from a high vantage point using a ... rifle ... sighted at 750 yards."

Law enforcement sources tell Maass that one of the suspects "was directly asked if they had come to Denver to kill Obama. He responded in the affirmative."

The story began emerging Sunday morning when Aurora police arrested 28-year-old Tharin Gartrell. He was driving a rented pickup truck in an erratic manner according to sources.

Sources told CBS4 police found two high-powered, scoped rifles in the car along with camouflage clothing, walkie-talkies, a bulletproof vest, a spotting scope, licenses in the names of other people and methamphetamine. One of the rifles is listed as stolen from Kansas.

Subsequently authorities went to the Cherry Creek Hotel to contact an associate of Gartrell's. But that man, who was wanted on numerous warrants, jumped out of a sixth floor hotel window. Law enforcement sources say the man broke an ankle in the fall and was captured moments later. Sources say he was wearing a ring with a swastika, and is thought to have ties to white supremacist organizations.

A third man -- an associate of Gartrell and the hotel jumper was also arrested. He told authorities that the two men "planned to kill Barack Obama at his acceptance speech."

Kudos to law enforcement officials who nabbed these scumbags.

Update: Perhaps this is more hype than story: Federal officials said verbal threats against Obama were made, but were not considered credible.

See Harry's comments below.

Afternoon update: Officials: Obama Assassination Plot Never Happened - Turns out it most likely is a "meth-fueled fantasy."

Posted by tim at August 26, 2008 12:10 AM

Dear tim:

750 yards is a long shot with a stolen rifle!

In order to make a shot at that distance requires special cartridges. Please note that the article in the link does not mention anything about the specifics of the ammunition.

I would conclude, as do the FEDS, that these gutter hoodlums are crack dealers more than assassins. To me, these creatures would only serve as a distraction for someone with a more sinister agenda. Actually, I am surprised that the press would air such a story ... unless it served some political agenda.

Trust me, 750 yards is along shot with a scoped-rifle ... despite what Hollywood promotes. Crackheads, like the two in the article, could not make that shot.

With Aloha,

Posted by: harry at August 26, 2008 6:49 AM

I both agree and disagree with Harry on the 750 yd. shot. For a submariner, a 750 yd. scope shot may be difficult (sorry Harry, couldn't resist), but U.S. Marines qualify at 500 yds. with iron sights (no scope). 750 yds with a scope is not a difficult shot - the Marine sniper motto is one shot one kill at a 1000 yds or more.

However, having looked at the images of these two clowns, here's where I agree with Harry. These two bozos would be challenged at 100 yds stone sober. I'd even feel comfortable saying they'd have difficulty getting in out of the rain and would have even more difficulty planning and carrying out a successful assassination attempt.

Semper Fi!

Posted by: Richard at August 26, 2008 7:27 AM


It is true that I was a Nuke submariner. And, it is true that US Marines are well-trained markesmen. Essentially, submariners merely qualify (then) on the .45 caliber pistol. However, I was on a rifle team, as a kid, and grew up in an extended family of hunters ... self-loading hunters.

In the article above, the arrestees disclosed their intention to strike from an elevated position at 750 yards. In order to accomplish that feat, the arrestees would need to know the precise location of their target. If they were taking a snapshot (cowboy shot), then I would wager that no US Marine (excluding rifle-team-trained marines) could hit a aluminum pie plate at 750 yards with an over-the-counter high-powered rifle (article did not mention an assault rifle) with other-the-counter ammunition in a matter of a few seconds.

The shooter would need his own weaponry, months of training in the area (Denver is one mile above sea level ... thinner atmosphere), and specialized ammunition (powder capacity). The powder charge would need to be hand-loaded for specific grain content. Succinctly, the shooter would need to feel the bullet's trajectory (ballistic elevation) to the target.

If the high-powered rifles confiscated were not .308s, then I doubt the shooter would be successful.

And, as I recall, range finders on most scopes top-out around 800 yards. Questioning the acccuracy of the range provided by the scope at 750 yards.

Even though a US Marine could make the shot from a prone position with a rest and ample firing time with an assault rifle, an over-the-counter rifle is questionable.

Of course, being a crackhead moves the discussion into the realm of fantasy more than probability.

Yes, US Marines are outstanding marksmen.

With Aloha,

Posted by: harry at August 26, 2008 1:26 PM

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