PITTSBURGH -- A western Pennsylvania man posted pro-terrorist songs and statements online under an alias and faces a detention hearing Thursday on charges he bit two FBI agents while carrying a loaded gun.
Federal prosecutors in Pittsburgh are expected to present evidence of Emerson Begolly's Internet posts at the hearing. A federal magistrate will be asked to keep Begolly in jail until he can stand trial on charges filed Wednesday by the FBI.
Begolly, 21, was arrested Tuesday by two FBI agents in New Bethlehem, about 50 miles northeast of Pittsburgh. The agents were conducting an unspecified investigation of him, according to a criminal complaint filed late Wednesday.
The agents found Begolly sitting alone in the front seat of a car parked in a fast-food restaurant, when one agent opened the vehicle door. That's when Begolly screamed and reached into his jacket, at which time both agents tried to keep him from grabbing what they believed was a gun, the complaint said.
"Agents attempted to control Begolly, Begolly bit both agents and drew blood," the complaint said, adding that agents then found a loaded 9mm handgun inside his jacket, with the safety in the "off" position and one round in the chamber.
He is charged with assaulting, resisting or impeding federal officers and with possessing a firearm during a crime of violence.
Begolly is listed as an online student at Penn State University, meaning he doesn't necessarily attend the school in State College, Pa.
There was no immediate response to an e-mail requesting comment sent to Begolly's Penn State e-mail address.
Special Agent William Crowley, the FBI's Pittsburgh spokesman, said he could not comment about whether Begolly's alleged online postings prompted the FBI to search for him or any other aspects of the case. Crowley also declined to say whether the FBI considers Begolly a serious terrorist threat.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Leo Dillon, spokesman for the federal prosecutor in Pittsburgh, also couldn't provide details.
"Whatever's presented at the hearing is a matter of public record, and nothing else," Dillon said.
A Google search for Begolly turns up in listings on the Jawa Report, YouTube and other sites using the alias "Asadullah Alshishani." The Jawa Report is a blog that monitors terrorism committed by militant groups.
The alias has been used on YouTube posts of lyrics to Islamic chants that are critical of the United States and praising terrorism, including Swedish suicide bomber, Taimour Abdulwahab al-Abdaly.
"You fight AmeriKKKa, and terrorize the Jews, you slay the murtadeen, and blow up the Hindus," one stanza reads of a chant that can also be heard on YouTube.
Although listed as an online student, Begolly attended a pro-Palestinian rally at Penn State's main campus in State College, according to a Jan. 1, 2009 story in The Collegian, the university's student newspaper. The rally came in the midst of an Israeli offensive meant to stop Palestinian rocket attacks.
Begolly is not quoted directly in the story, in which he was identified as a sophomore religion major. Begolly told the campus he is Chechen and attended the rally of about 20 people because "he sympathized with Palestine's situation."
Officials at Penn State's public information office said they were aware of the arrest, but a spokeswoman was not immediately available to comment.
The Penn State's directory lists Begolly as an undergraduate student in letters, arts and sciences, and said he was from the Pittsburgh suburb of Natrona Heights.
His grandmother, Sylvia Begolly, who also lives in Natrona Heights, said she knew nothing of his arrest or any Internet postings.
Asked if he had a history of law enforcement or other troubles, she said, "Not that I know of."
His father, Shawn Begolly, of Mayport, said he had no comment when reached by a reporter on his cell phone.
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