A US veteran is facing charges of terrorism after being arrested for trying to get some exercise. That’s William Alemar’s story, at least, who was detained this week after jogging in full military fatigues in public while carrying a training rifle.
Authorities have charged 23-year-old Army National Guardsman and Iraq war veteran William Everett Alemar with "committing a terroristic act and wearing body armor while committing a felony offense.” He was arrested on the morning of August 20 after officers responded to calls of an armed man running along a road adjacent to a Martinsburg, West Virginia high school.
When the cops found Alemar three minutes later, he was wearing his full National Guard get-up and was brandishing an air-soft “training rifle,” a gun that while similar to his actual weapon only fires pellets, not bullets. He was also garbed in a ballistic vest composed of bullet-resistant ceramic panels and was equipped with two knives and several unloaded magazines, the Herald-Mail reports.
“The primary concern for the police department was that subject’s proximity to the area schools — Martinsburg High School, South Middle — when he was first located off Bulldog Boulevard,” Martinsburg Police Lt. George Swartwood says to reporters.
After spotting Alemar, authorities ordered him to the ground and then seized the weapons. He was initially held on $50,000 cash bond.
For the family of the vet, it seems a bit too much.
“He’s not a terrorist; he’s not a bad kid,” the suspect’s father, Stephen Alemar, tells The Herald-Mail.
A Facebook group, “Support William Alemar,” has been started to help the veteran as he prepares to fight his charges. Several of the users who have joined the group have made comparisons between Alemar and Brandon Raub, a retired US Marine from Virginia man who was recently detained for one week after he posted messages on his own social networking profile that raised the eyebrows of authorities.
“The idea of a Constitution free zone is bunk, and we would like to support this American Patriot as was Brandon Raub supported in his time of trouble,” the creator of the ‘Support William Alemar’ page writes. “The idea you can be labeled a 'terrorist' simply by carrying a training rifle, ammo, and knives is once again, an overblown reaction by our government. Unless further hitherto unknown facts are released, it seems we should unite with this American hero, who is NOT a terrorists but a citizen of the republic!”