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Marine faces military hearing over firearms allegations

Posted at 12:30 PM, Aug 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-19 13:30:15-04

HONOLULU (AP) — A Marine stationed in Hawaii faces a military hearing this week after officials say he tried to enter an Air Force base while off-duty and heavily armed in his home state of Nebraska.

Pfc. Ali Al-kazahg, 22, is in custody in Hawaii on allegations that he tried to enter Offutt Air Force Base with two semi-automatic rifles, a pistol, a silencer, a bump stock, a vest with body armor and a case of ammunition while on leave. His arrest came a week after he was listed on a law enforcement alert for making threats, The Omaha World-Herald reported.

A preliminary military court hearing at Marine Corps Base Hawaii is scheduled for Wednesday. A hearings officer is expected to recommend whether charges including carrying a concealed weapon, possessing modified firearms, making threats and fraudulent enlistment should go to court-martial.

Al-Kazahg was visiting Nebraska, where he grew up, when guards stopped his pickup May 31 at an Offutt gate after seeing his name on a law enforcement “be on the lookout” bulletin.

The World-Herald, which obtained the bulletin, reported Al-Kazahg was listed because he told another Marine he would “shoot up the battalion, starting at the barracks,” if he were disciplined for certain misconduct. He also mentioned specific Marines he wanted to target, the newspaper reported.

The bulletin said Al-kazahg didn’t make any threats against anyone in Nebraska.

Al-kazahg’s sister believes he had “zero intentions” of hurting anyone and said he had most of his belongings, including his guns, in his truck because he’d been staying with friends.

Nedhal Al-kazahy told The Associated Press from Lincoln, Nebraska, that her brother went to Offutt to work out at a gym there.

She believes her brother, the son of Iraqi refugees, was targeted because of his race. She said other Marines have called him Muslim, even though he’s Christian, and thrown bacon on his bed.

The siblings’ last names are spelled differently because of a birth certificate mix-up, she said.

The Marine Corps denied that the charges were racially motived and said it doesn’t tolerate racism or bullying.

“We expect all Marines to act in a professional manner to maintain an atmosphere of dignity and respect and ensure an environment free from discrimination, harassment and assault,” Marine spokesman Capt. Eric Abrams said.

Trevor Reilly, a former Marine who befriended Al-kazahg at a Nebraska recruiting station, told the AP that Al-kazahg “spouted off and got belligerent” before he went on leave, after a Marine taunted and provoked him. But he said “at no point” did Al-kazahg suggest he was considering any kind of violence.

Al-kazahg is assigned to Combat Logistics Battalion 3, 3rd Marine Logistics Group.