The 2009 Little Rock recruiting office shooting took place on June 1, 2009, when the American Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, born Carlos Leon Bledsoe, opened fire with a rifle in a drive-by shooting on soldiers in front of a United States military recruiting office in Little Rock, Arkansas. He killed Private William Long and wounded Private Quinton Ezeagwula.
“My son was programmed and trained to kill by radical Islam.” Jihadists “stole my son. They raped his mind. They changed his thoughts, they changed his behavior…and they manipulated him. He is no longer Carlos; he is Abdulhakim. I ask God to give me my son back.”
– Melvin Bledsoe, describing the radicalization of his son Carlos (AKA Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad)
He is still trying to understand how it happened. How his son went from a happy young man with a bright future to an accused murderer who claims it was an act of jihad and that he would have killed more people if could have.
Melvin Bledsoe isn’t hiding from his son’s path to violence. He testified about it on Capitol Hill, drawing dismissive comments from members of Congress, including one who all butblamed him for his son’s actions. In an interview with the Investigative Project on Terrorism, Bledsoe details his son’s spiral into radical Islam and his family’s efforts to thwart it.
The Bledsoe family wasn’t thrilled when their son Carlos gave up being a Baptist and converted to Islam in 2004. He changed his name to Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad and engaged in a series of behavioral changes. He saw his family less. He set his dog free in the woods because he believed Islam regarded dogs as unclean. He tried to remove a picture of Dr. Martin Luther King from the wall of the family home on grounds that Islam prohibits “worshipping” anyone but Allah.