Rainier Valley barber shop owner flees U.S.
Facing sentencing in plea deal, he phones FBI to say he's in Somalia
Ruben Shumpert, who federal agents allege made his Rainier Valley barber shop a kind of "anti-American training ground for Muslims" where children were taught "how to shoot and fight the Americans," has telephoned the FBI to say he won't be going to prison anytime soon.
Shumpert, who faces sentencing on federal counterfeiting and weapons charges, has fled to Somalia. A warrant has been issued for the arrest of Shumpert, who is also known as Amir Abdul Muhaimin, Assistant U.S.
Attorney Bill Redkey said. He was to be sentenced Tuesday. Shumpert -- an African American convert to Islam -- was among more than a dozen, mostly African immigrants from Islamic countries arrested by the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force two years ago on a mix of charges, including immigration fraud and bank fraud.
Shumpert was never charged with any terrorism crimes, but court documents paint a picture of his barber shop at 7821 Rainier Ave. S. as a gathering place for adherents of radical Islam where he showed children videotapes of "fighting, shooting and killing with images on Shumpert's computer screen of al-Qaida and the Taliban."
Shumpert had been free on personal recognizance and was facing sentencing under a plea agreement when he fled the country, Redkey said. Shumpert called an FBI agent on the Joint Terrorism Task Force from Somalia, Redkey said. But he noted that the United States has no extradition treaty with Somalia.
Somalia is considered a fertile breeding ground for radical Islamic terrorists by U.S. intelligence agencies. Redkey said Shumpert also likely is to be charged with failing to appear for his sentencing hearing, a separate felony.
A condition of Shumpert's release before sentencing was that he surrender his passport, said Redkey, who noted that in recent years, it has become more common for judges to allow defendants to turn in their passports after they are released from custody. Shumpert never surrendered his passport, Redkey said. Redkey said the U.S. Attorney's Office is reviewing the practice of allowing people out of custody before they surrender their passport.