Before last Tuesday, June 2, Everett Police had not so much given David Wright of Linden Street a traffic ticket.
The alleged terrorism conspirator who lived quietly in Everett is now under arrest and has helped FBI Investigators learn about the plot by Wright’s friend, Usaamah Abdullah Rahim of Roslindale, to behead police officers in and around Boston.
That plot was stopped by FBI Agents and Boston Police serving on the Joint Terrorism Task Force last Tuesday morning when Rahim was shot and killed by police in the parking lot of a pharmacy near his Roslindale home.
That incident, and Wright’s arrest last Tuesday in Everett, has been the focus of an international news story about homegrown terrorism and its spread to American cities like Everett.
Wright’s quiet existence in Everett speaks to how such nefarious ideas can unfold so far off the grid of normal policing activities.
“The Everett Police Department had no formal dealings with David Wright, not as much as a ticket,” said Lt. Frank Hoenig. “He was completely off our grid. The department has responded to that address numerous times over the years. However, it is a multifamily address with many service calls, none involving Wright.”
Wright lived at 208 Linden St. #4 in Everett and was taken into custody late on June 2. Wright, also known as Dawud Sharif Wright or Dawud Sharif Abdul Khaliq, is charged with conspiring to impede an investigation by telling Rahim to destroy his cell phone and reset his laptop computer after committing the alleged planned beheadings.
Wright voluntarily spoke to investigators last week, according to court documents, and told them about the plan he and Rahim had concocted.
Rahim spoke with him over the phone about a plan to behead a person out of state. That out of state person is widely believed to be Pamela Geller – the woman who hosted the Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest in Texas last month.
“In guarded language, Rahim told Wright about a plan, in which he was involved, to kill a person outside of Massachusetts,” read the court complaint against Wright from FBI Agent Joe Galietta. “Rahim and Wright discussed the motivation for that planned attack. Later in the conversation, Wright told Rahim something was ‘like thinking with your head on your chest.’ Both men then burst out laughing. Based upon my training, experience, and involvement in this investigation, I believe this is a reference to the practice of some foreign terrorist organizations to behead targets and place their heads on their chests in propaganda videos.”
That plan was later hashed out with a third, unnamed person, in a meeting of the three men on a beach in Rhode Island. That meeting, organized by Wright, took place May 31 and involved discussing a detailed plan to behead Geller.
However, on June 2, all of that changed abruptly when Rahim called Wright at 5 a.m. and said the plan had changed. In a conversation between Rahim and Wright that was recorded by the FBI, Rahim allegedly said he couldn’t wait for the original plan to unfold.
“Are you trying to figure out where, are you trying to go to [the other state]?” Wright allegedly asked.
“No,” Rahim replied.
“You are not, I’m trying to understand, wait, you are not trying to go to [the other state]?” asked Wright.
“No,” said Rahim.
“Oh, oh wait a minute, oh ah, you are going to be, ah, you’re attempting to go on vacation I see,” said Wright.
“Yeah, I’m going to be on vacation right here in Massachusetts…I’m just going to ah go after them, those boys in blue,” Rahim said. “Cause, ah, it’s the easiest target and, ah the most common is the easiest for me.”
According Galietta, “going on vacation” is a code word for committing violent jihad. That conversation, according to court documents, also included plans about how Rahim planned to randomly kill and behead police officers in Massachusetts on June 2 or 3. Within that conversation, Wright allegedly advised Rahim to “get rid of [the cell phone] before anybody gets it; make sure it’s completely destroyed…because at the scene CSI will be looking for that particular thing and so dump it, get rid of that…”
That’s when FBI and police moved in, following that recorded phone conversation, and attempted to speak with Rahim. According to police accounts and video released this week, Rahim came at law enforcement officers with a long knife when confronted at 7 a.m. on June 2. After retreating several yards, officers shot and killed Rahim as he advanced.
FBI agents originally were drawn to Rahim on May 25, when he ordered a 15-inch Ontario Spec Plus Marine Bowie fighting knife and sharpener from Amazon.com. The next day, on May 26, Rahim allegedly called Wright and told him about the knife and his plans to behead Geller. That package was intercepted by the FBI and its contents were confirmed by X-ray technologists.
On May 27, Rahim allegedly ordered a second knife, a 13-inch Ontario Knife SP6 Spec Plush Fighting Knife #8325. That, too, was intercepted and both were delivered to Rahim’s address on May 30.
Wright is set to go before Magistrate Judge M. Page Kelley on June 19 in Boston Federal Court for a detention hearing. The U.S. Attorney’s Office has asked for the maximum penalties and for Wright to be detained.