Hours before his arrest outside a Detroit-area mosque, a 63-year-old California man held court at a nearby sports bar, telling an employee that he was a Vietnam veteran-turned Muslim holy warrior, that he planned to set off a "big explosion," and that he was "going to be part of making history," the employees said Monday.
Joe Nahhas, an operations manager at the J.S. Fields bar in Detroit, told the Associated Press that a man identified after his arrest as Roger Stockham ordered a double Scotch on the rocks Jan. 24 and told him he planned to cause an explosion that would be "here, there, the mosque."
Stockham -- who is bipolar and suffers from other psychiatric disorders, according to an attorney who represented him in a previous case -- was wearing a Vietnam War veteran hat and said he is a Muslim and a member of an Indonesian mujahedeen group, Nahhas said.
Nahhas said he called 911 to report the incident, and police have said a tip preceded Stockham's arrest near the Islamic Center of America a few hours later. Police said when officers pulled over Stockham's car, he was wearing a ski mask and traveling with open alcohol containers, spray paint and more than two dozen powerful fireworks, including M-80s, which are illegal in Michigan.
"He stated over and over there's going to be a big explosion in the city tonight," said Nahhas, whose bar is down the street from the mosque, one of the largest in North America.
Stockham was arraigned Wednesday on one count of making a false report or threat of terrorism and one count of possessing explosives with an unlawful intent. He remained jailed Monday on a $500,000 bond. A preliminary examination is scheduled for Friday.