Daniel Cowart and Paul Schlesselman were arrested Monday in Tennessee by the ATF for an apparent assassination plot against Sen. Barack Obama.
Cowart, 20, of Bells, Tenn., and Schlesselman 18, of West Helena, Ark., are being held without bond. The two alleged white supremacists in an alleged plot to assassinate Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama by doing a drive-by shooting with high-powered rifles.
Cowart and Schlesselman allegedly discussed shooting 88 African Americans to death and decapitating 14 others in a killing spree across the country. The two chose the numbers 88 and 14 because, officials said, "they have special significance within the White Power movement."
They were charged in U.S. District Court in Nashville with illegal possession of a sawed-off shotgun, conspiracy to rob a gun store and making threats against a major presidential candidate.
The two neo-Nazi skinheads allegedly shot out the window of a church and then wrote chalk marks, including swastikas, on their car. On the hood, they scribbled the numbers 88 and 14.
Cowart and Schlesselman reportedly targeted a predominantly African-American high school, but did not identify the school when they were arrested.
The eighth letter of the alphabet is "H," and the number 8 twice signifies "HH." It is shorthand for the Nazi greeting "Heil Hitler." The number 14 comes from the number of words in a White Power slogan: "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children."
Court records say Cowart and Schlesselman also bought nylon rope and ski masks to use in a robbery or home invasion to fund their spree, during which they allegedly planned to go from state to state and kill people.
Jim Cavanaugh, special agent in charge of the Nashville field office for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF), said authorities took the threats very seriously.
"They said that would be their last, final act — that they would attempt to kill Sen. Obama," Cavanaugh said. "They didn't believe they would be able to do it, but that they would get killed trying."
"They seemed determined to do it," added Cavanaugh in an Associated Press interview. "Even if they were just to try it, it would be a trail of tears around the South."
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