Kansas City downtown evacuated after possible terrorist threat - KCTV5 News

No explosives found in car of man with ties to 1st World Trade Center bombing

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© Wahed Moharam as Helmet Man on KCTV5's Locker Room Show © Wahed Moharam as Helmet Man on KCTV5's Locker Room Show

The FBI said Friday afternoon that no explosives were found and there is no threat to the public after a scare in downtown Kansas City.

The man at the center of the scare, Wahed Moharam, was later released. He talked to reporters once he arrived home Friday night.

"I love this country," he said, adding that he has lived in the United States for more than 30 years. "I would give my life for this country."

Police initially said the man claimed to be a terrorist, leading to the evacuation of some downtown streets and buildings. Moharam, who is apparently on a federal watch list, was taken into custody at the federal building at 13th Street and Holmes Road.

Moharam reportedly yelled, "Why am I on the terrorist watch list?" when he entered the federal building downtown Friday.

"While the individual was detained and is being questioned, there is no public safety concern and we determined no personnel inside the federal building were in harm's way," the FBI statement says. "The individual walked into the federal building to clarify whether he was under investigation by a federal agency. The individual did not make a threat of a bomb or explosive device being contained in his vehicle."

The Kansas City Star, KCTV5's reporting partner, reported that Moharam has ties to the first World Trade Center bombing. He testified against some of the bombers.

Moharam is also a die-hard Chiefs fan and appeared on KCTV5's Locker Room show. He also appeared regularly on other KCTV5 business-related segments. He was known as "Helmet Man," and was wearing a Chiefs shirt Friday night.

He told reporters Friday night that he had been pulled over on a traffic stop in Grain Valley. He said he felt harassed and the stop was extensive. He said officers told him the traffic stop lasted so long because they discovered he was on a terror-watch list.

Moharam said this upset him and he went to the federal building to clear up the issue. He said he never had a bomb and never implied that he had one.

"I love this country more than anything on earth. I will do anything for this country," he said. "I never went to the building and said I had a bomb. If I said I had a bomb, I wouldn't be talking to you now."

After Moharam was taken into custody Friday afternoon, bomb dogs indicated that explosives were inside the vehicle. This led to the evacuations and a heightened search.

After a robot and investigators in bomb squad gear searched the vehicle, explosives were not found.

A gun was found inside his vehicle.

Moharam owns a cleaning business. And the cleaning chemicals inside the vehicle were what the dogs hit on.

Moharam was known to many Kansas City area residents as "Helmet Man" because of his attire at Chiefs games. Many knew him as Edgar Sanchez. 

Neighbors described him as friendly, good with children and involved in his church and community. He was also described as odd. He came to KCTV5's newsroom in February to discuss a business opportunity.

The Star reported that Moharam's season tickets were revoked because of safety concerns in 2003. He was once in the federal witness protection program for testifying in the first World Trade Center bombing. Click here to read the newspaper's 2003 profile of him.

"Everything is OK," a man identifying himself as Wahed told the newspaper. "I don't have to tell you exactly where I am. The FBI requests me to hang up the phone, but I can assure you I'm OK and they treat me good."

He added: "And everything mistake. Everything mistake. I didn't have any bad thing anyway. Everything is just ... thank you and God bless you and I'm OK."

The General Services Administration initially relocated employees from sections of their downtown building as a result of the threat. Federal agencies sent some workers home for the day.

The nearby Jackson County Jail was placed on lockdown.

Kansas City police said they acted out of an abundance of caution.

In its statement, the FBI said they could not discuss whether Moharam is on a federal watch list.

"Local police and FBI agents acting with an abundance of caution responded appropriately with the initial limited information they had based on witness accounts of what happened," the statement said. "A police canine sniffed the person's car and alerted to a possible explosive substance. A closer look has determined that no items of concern have been located in the individual's vehicle. Again, the primary concern was for the public's safety, which made the actions today necessary."

KCTV5's Brad Stephens, Stephen Mayer and Dave Jordan contributed to this report.

Copyright2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

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