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Suspect in mosque bomb attempt has long record

The man accused of plotting to blow up one of the biggest mosques in the country is from Southern California.

February 1, 2011 5:44:22 PM PST
Roger Stockham, 63, the Imperial Beach man arrested outside a Michigan mosque with fireworks, has had several similar incidents in his past.

According to federal authorities, Stockham planted a bomb in a Reno, Nevada, airport garbage can and called a newspaper and the FBI to report it.

The airport was evacuated and the bomb was disarmed. According to experts, the bomb could have killed anyone in its vicinity if it had detonated.

Stockham was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison, but he was released early.

In 1977, Stockham held a psychiatrist hostage in Century City with two bombs and a gun for more than four hours. He eventually released the psychiatrist unharmed and surrendered to police.

Two years later, Stockham abducted his son, 9 at the time, and fled in a rented Cessna airplane. He crashed the plane. He was found nearby hiding with his son, uninjured.

While out on bail, Stockham is alleged to have set fires at several Union Oil storage facilities in Lompoc.

He was later found by a court to be legally insane. He escaped from a mental hospital and stayed free for four months before being captured.

Stockham later pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity when charged with making threats in 2002 against Pres. George W. Bush. Stockham spent time in another mental hospital, before being released on condition of abstaining from alcohol.

Before the 2011 incident in Dearborn, Stockham allegedly was at a Detroit bar drinking Scotch. He told the bar manager he was a Vietnam War veteran who had converted to Islam. The manager called police after Stockham bragged about how he was going to cause a "big explosion."

Stockham claimed to be part of a group of Indonesian Muslim holy warriors, and possibly speaks some Arabic.

Stockham was arrested in Dearborn, Michigan, outside a large mosque with a large amount of heavy fireworks. He was reportedly wearing a ski mask.

Authorities did not give a reason for why Stockham targeted the mosque.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.