Local, federal and state authorities foil a suicide bomb attempt at Wichita’s Mid Continent Airport.
U.S. Attorney Batty Grissom announced Friday afternoon that 58-year-old Terry Lee Loewen of Wichita was arrested at the airport early Friday morning. Loewen is an airport employee.
FBI agents arrested Loewen as he used his airport security card to try and gain access to the tarmac with what he believed was a car loaded with a bomb. He was prepared to detonate the bomb, killing as many people as possible, and himself.
Grissom says that Loewen had been studying airport schedules, and picked what he believed would be busy time so as to injure as many people as possible. He planned to drive the car that he believed was full of explosives into a terminal at the airport.
In reality, what Loewen had was an inoperable bomb. What he had thought were co-conspirators he was working with were actually undercover federal agents.
Grissom credits cooperation with multiple agencies in foiling the plot.
Loewen was charged with one count each of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, attempting to damage property and attempting to provide support to the terrorist group al-Qaida.
Investigators say Loewen is an avionics technician who lives in Wichita and works at the airport. He had been under investigation for about six months after he made statements about wanting to commit “violent jihad” against the U.S.