FBI SWAT team arrests Arkansas explosives suspect in West Seattle

Two notes came in over the weekend asking about what appeared to be an FBI SWAT team raid early Friday at a home on Genesee Hill. We have finally confirmed what that was about. It’s a case you might already have seen in regional/national media, though the stories published so far did not mention the “Seattle” arrest was in West Seattle. Agents arrested a suspect, 40-year-old Arkansas resident Mark Krause, who was visiting someone here who by all accounts has no tie to the case. Krause is accused of placing a homemade explosive device six months ago at a church in Osage, Arkansas, that was serving as a polling place (which is why this is a federal case). The device was inside a soda can, and that’s what several people thought it was when they picked it up at the church and moved it around in subsequent hours until someone noticed it had wiring.

Court documents say an FBI explosives expert believes it could have killed someone. It contained batteries and birdshot meant to function as shrapnel if it had exploded. The FBI says it was traced when similar components — as well as printed material related to bombmaking and “militia extremism” — were found inside an Arkansas home formerly owned by Krause and being cleaned after foreclosure. The FBI subsequently found out that because of money trouble, he “had been traveling around and spending time visiting family and/or friends,” but had been home in Arkansas at the time the explosive device was found.

According to Seattle FBI Special Agent Frederick Gutt, they traced him to West Seattle through “personal social correspondence,” discovered his car at the Genesee Hill house, “conducted surveillance,” then sent a SWAT team Friday morning to arrest him – not because anything dangerous was happening there, but because Krause was known to have a concealed-weapons permit, so the SWAT team was precautionary. The people he was apparently visiting are not connected to the case in any way, say authorities; neither they nor their address are mentioned in the court documents. After a hearing here later on Friday, Krause was to be sent back to Arkansas to answer the charges.

12 Replies to "FBI SWAT team arrests Arkansas explosives suspect in West Seattle"

  • anna thomas December 7, 2010 (6:38 am)

    wow! after having read every account i can get my eyes on, i must applaud you guys for the best journalism thus far….thank you…mark is a dear family friend, whom we know without a shadow of a doubt, was not the one who attempted to bomb the polling station/church/gym. TRUTH WILL OUT!

  • Nulu December 7, 2010 (3:57 pm)

    “Court documents indicate Krause was arrested on complaints of attempted use of force against those engaged in federally protected activities and possession of an unregistered firearm.” Seattle PI

    WSB makes no mention of the unregistered firearm.
    Does Anna Thomas “know without a shadow of a doubt” he also had no unregistered firearm?
    For that matter, how can she know anything about another person “without a shadow of a doubt?”

    • WSB December 7, 2010 (4:00 pm)

      The unregistered firearm is the federal terminology for the device itself, NOT a separate item. Count 2 from the charging document:

      On or about the date of June 8, 2010, in the county of Carroll, in the Western District of Arkansas, the defendant Mark Krause, knowingly possessed a firearm, namely a destructive device, not registered to him in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, in violation of and 26 U.S.C. §§ 5861(d) and 5871.

      Elaborated on, on page 6 of the complaint, which we obtained by requesting it through federal prosecutors:

      21. As part of the investigation, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) Special Agent Tony McCutcheon, caused a check with the National Firearms Branch o f BA TFE and determined that Krause had not made any application (in order to possess or make) for the registration ofa destructive device, nor had Krause ever had any destructive device registered to him in The National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record.

  • Melissa Smith December 7, 2010 (4:36 pm)

    I think what Anna Thomas meant was that to people who know and love Mark Krause, people like myself who grew up in the small close-knit Arkansas community with Mark, know him as a loving, talented, and creative artist… and a person who we all have no doubt is innocent of this crime. I don’t think she meant it was “beyond the shadow of a doubt” to everyone.. and definitely not based solely on court documents or media coverage information, which are the sources you (Nulu) are quoting. She meant that anyone who knows Mark will just know that he isn’t capable of such an act because he loves people and loves life. It’s fundamental to who he is as a person. Those of us who know him know this to be the truth, and we hope this truth will come out in the court as well.

    As for the literature and the gun.. I have to say first that most people where we come from have guns. People hunt, people shoot at targets and coffee cans for fun. It’s just part of life there. The presence of a gun in his possession is incidental, not correlational in any way.

    I have known many people over the years who thought revolutionary literature was interesting, and that it was in the best interest of freedom for the means to make weaponry to be held by the people.. and preserving the knowledge of how to make weapons is equivalent to preserving the knowledge of how to make wagon wheels or hand pumps for water. It’s basic technological knowledge of civilization. Some people possess this literature out of personal interest or hobbies, scientific interest (physics), or art… or just for the purpose of preserving the information.

    Just as possession of a gun owner’s maintenance manual could not implicate a person for a murder, possession of literature on how to make a homemade bomb should not implicate them in an incident related to a bomb. So far I haven’t heard anything that actually links Mark to the crime or the crimescene AT ALL! Am I missing some key bit of information here? How did he even become a suspect in this case? I am just baffled by this.

    • WSB December 7, 2010 (5:20 pm)

      Melissa, here’s a section from the charging documents. Just to be clear for anyone who stumbled onto this story from the interwebs – it was not meant to be a complete exploration of the case – our interest was in finding out on behalf of the readers who e-mailed us, why there was an FBI raid in their neighborhood. Since according to authorities there is no evidence of any further West Seattle link to this case beyond the fact the suspect happened to be visiting a local friend when arrested, we don’t expect to be following up on it, unless that status changes. Anyway, from the charging documents (which we asked for only to see if they alluded to the local tie):

      During the investigation, agents with the FBI interviewed a cooperating witness ( hereinafter CW) who had lived with and had a close personal relationship with Mark Krause for an extended period of time. CW stated that he/she was familiar with the handwriting and drawings of Mark Krause. CW was shown various writings, diagrams and sketches that were found in the residence and outbuildings located at 37797 Highway 23, Huntsville, Arkansas including the drawings and sketches that appeared to be consistent with the “improvised anti-lift switch” as described in paragraph 18 above. CW identified the documents as having been written and sketched by Mark Krause. CW indicated
      that Mark Krause was experiencing financial problems and as a result had been traveling around and spending time visiting family and/or friends. CW stated that CW knew Mark Krause to have been back home in Arkansas on June 10,2010, because he had been to a doctor in Springdale, Arkansas on that date for an ear infection.
      23. CW consented to allowing the Federal Bureau ofInvestigation to access Mark Krause’s Facebook Profile. FBI Special Agent, Tim Healy reviewed Mark Krause’s (Mark) Facebook comments and status updates for the months o f May 2010 through July 2010 in order to determine his location

  • Nulu December 7, 2010 (5:59 pm)

    Fair enough, defenders of this man I do not know.
    But, someone who has a concealed weapons permit is not the sort of person I know or vouch for. Plinkers and varmit shooters have no need for a concealed weapon permit.whether this man is guilty as supected
    Melissa, it seems that WSB has now provided that info.
    Also anyone who claims, “he isn’t capable of such an act” is naive to human foibles and the history of crime provides innumerable examples.
    That said, I have no idea whether he is guilty or innocent, just that no one else knows for certain, but him.

  • SF Arkie December 7, 2010 (7:37 pm)

    I forwarded this blog to friends of Mark because the writing was exceptionally fair and appreciated the investigation.

    Luckily, I’ve lived for many years on the liberal west coast and for many years in the misunderstood state of Arkansas. If Mark had lived in SF, he no doubt would’ve been active in the Burning Man and Survival Research Lab scene. His mechanical and artistic expertise combined with his liberal politics, generous spirit and interest in firearms would have made him your typical tattooed hipster. But once one hears he’s from Arkansas and carries a concealed weapons permit, assumptions are made. Melissa’s right about what we liberal, educated, artistic people do for fun around these parts. It is quite common to have a permit and if Nulu lived here, Nulu would know several permit holders, organic farmers and PhDs.

    Mark worked in shared, community-like studios/workshops here in Northwest Arkansas. He was generous with his knowledge, tools, space. And perhaps too generous.

    Thanks WSB for the blog and your non-judgmental post. Thanks for allowing space to defend Mark and the fabulous eccentricities of Arkansas.

  • Nulu December 8, 2010 (12:24 pm)

    Using 2008 U.S. Census data, this means four percent of the adult population in Arkansas is licensed to carry a firearm concealed and could be armed at any given time.

  • WSRobin December 8, 2010 (7:29 pm)

    What exactly is your point with that statement, Nulu? I wasn’t going to write, since I was just purusing a local interest story, but being a previous gun owner, and having family and friends that are responsible owners – do you have a point? Is Arkansas filled with unsavory characters – or at least a minimum of 4% unsavory, since, you know, a lot of criminals tend to not register they have a gun? Or should the people from there and writing-in suddenly be shocked and worried and rethink everything they’ve believe about someone they’ve known and been friends with for a long time?

    Seriously, what is your point?

    Washington state issues concealed carry permits- what does that say about us and our population? Quite a few states do- does that mean each one has a certain percentage of people you can’t trust or who have, according to you, bad character? Most of the ones that do have lower crime rates than cities that ban gun (Chicago or DC, for example), and states with arduous carry, or no carry laws.

    You are either horribly naive about guns and gun ownership, especially those who register their arms, or willfully ignorant. These are people who are telling the authorities they have a gun (and paying for the privilage to do so, mind you), and are therefore fully committed to being held responsible for it.

    I’ve been a gun owner (never carried) and known people over the years who carried, both with permits, and pre-brady bill and generalized irrational fear of guns, without.

    Reasons varied-but regardless of reason, each and every person I’ve known to carry are responsible, caring individuals who span the range of political thought (minus the extremes to the right or left). *SF Arkie was much more eloquent with this point.

    Anyway, I have no real comment on Mr. Krause’s case other than to say that anyone who has friends that seek out reporting and then thank the reporters for factual information, regardless of what it says, gets points in my book- and it helps me keep an open mind. The rest is up to the courts and discovery – but having a concealed permit, actually properly registering with the authorities, doesn’t say anything bad to me. Quite the opposite, in fact.

  • gavintree December 9, 2010 (9:01 am)

    Picture a house in the boonies of the Ozark mountains. It is stuffed to the gills with survivalist texts, bomb making manuals, and crushed beer cans. This is obviously the den of a sociopath hick uni bomber intent on killing law abiding people because he has some timothy McVeigh notions of federal government lies and oppression. Now quit reading the modern myth of the lone bomber into a minimum of information. Mark has friends, Mark is a genius, Mark has a sense of humor that exactly mirrors your own west coast sensibilities about militias. He is a liberal guy who worked on the “world peace prayer fountain” in Fayetteville Arkansas, and when arrested was working on a sculpture for burning man. Sure they found some wacko literature in the junk he left behind in his house, but he left it behind. The affidavit only says what the FBI believed to be relevant to the case out of stated truck loads of junk. What else might of been there to dilute the perception that he is some kind of terrorist, ever goggled Al Qaeda, you might be a terrorist. I do know Mark and if you think that saying that someone wouldn’t of been capable of saying that their friend would never of done something like this, just remember that they are accusing him of trying to kill with shrapnel people that he does not know, and that they say he was doing it with intent and premeditation and then ask yourself if you could not categorically state that your friends could never do something like that. If you can’t say that right off the back, then either you need new friends or your friends need to find a new friend.
    Mark is not a killer and did not do this.

  • Bob Patrick December 10, 2010 (8:00 am)

    I was Mark’s first blacksmithing teacher and a friend of his. Mark is a genius on mechanical equipment. He is a very talented smith and artist. Mark even hates to kill bugs, I can’t see him hurting innocent people at a polling place. He attended a National Blacksmith conference with many other people at about that period of time where I talked to him and had a beer with him. The evidence to me looks very circumstantial. I will not believe Mark did this based on my long friendship with him and knowing his character.

  • peter fels December 10, 2010 (12:48 pm)

    Mark has been my friend for many years.
    The idea that he’d plant a bomb in a church is absurd.
    He is a generous, gentle, liberal, creative artist of considerable talent and a mechanical genius.
    Not long ago he was demeaned and insulted by someone in California without cause and suffered economically in the process. He simply shook his head and walked away…sadly mentioned it to a few folks. That’s as far as it went.
    He isn’t an angry man by disposition.
    The proposition that he’d use a bomb making manual is silly in and of itself. He’s not the sort of guy who would have any need of instructions no matter what sort of mechanical device he wanted to make.
    Nor would he need to do drawings for himself as he has superior 3D visualization and memory talents.
    He might have done drawings for somebody else if presented with a problem to solve, which he loved to puzzle out.
    He is not a man to interfere with polling or a church under any circumstances. The proposition is absurd.
    Further, if he had built the bomb in question, it would have worked, no problem.
    I’ll happily vouch for him any time!…Sincerely ,pete fels

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