Saudi student, who had 'mental kill list', held in US custody

Saudi student, who had 'mental kill list', held in US custody
Hassan Alqahtani was arrested on Friday, a day before his graduation, on a firearms charge. In August, the FBI recieved a tip-off that he had mental a "kill list".
2 min read
18 December, 2019
Hassan Alqahtani, 27, was to graduate from the University of New Mexico on Saturday [Getty]
A Saudi Arabian student who illegally obtained a gun and had a mental "kill list" that included a university professor, will await trial in custody, following a court ruling on Tuesday.

US Magistrate Judge Laura Fashing said that Hassan Alqahtani, 27, continued to pose a "danger" after she heard allegations of domestic violence and threats made to others. 

These include witness reports that Alqahtani had physically attacked his wife.

Federal prosecutor George Kraehe told the detention hearing that Alqahtani also held a gun to the head of a woman dated while married, threatening to kill her.

Al-Qahtani, a mechanical engineering student at the University of New Mexico, was detained on a federal firearms charge on Friday, a day before graduating. 

His parents, wife and other relatives were at home at the time, in town for his graduation.

Prosecutors allege that Al-Qahtani illegally purchased a gun on a student visa after authorities found a weapon at his Albuquerque home, having served a search warrant.  

In August, the FBI recieved a tip-off that the engineering student had a memorised "kill list" that included a university professor, a former roommate, and a person he once fought with. 

On Monday, Al-Qahtani was in custody while his attorneys sought more documents from prosecutors, hoping to discredit the allegations. 

Yet in the aftermath of Tuesday's developments, Joel Myers, one of Al-Qahtani's attorneys, claimed the case was based on "flamboyant allegations", saying it was not known whether the suspect owned the gun found at his home. 

During the hearing, FBI Special Agent Jonathan Labuhn testified  that witnesses had informed the authorities that Al-Qahtani had been seen on numerous occassions with a weapon.

Labuhn alleged that Al-Qahtani had told one person he was a member of the the Taliban.

His arrest comes after a Saudi air force officer opened fire in a classroom at Pensacola Naval Air Station in Florida on Friday, killing three American sailors and wounding eight other people before being shot dead by police.

The Pentagon announced on Tuesday it was temporarily suspending operational training in response to the shooting.

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