Two suspected neo-Nazis who planned on assassinating Sen. Barack Obama and murdering over 100 African-Americans have been arrested by federal agents, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

The supposed skinheads planned on orchestrating a national killing spree beginning at a chiefly African-American school in Tennessee, the ATF reports.‚  The men wished to end the spree by assassinating Obama in a drive-by shooting while wearing tuxedos and top hats.

Jim Cavanaugh, an ATF special agent in Nashville, said the men didn’t think they’d be able to carry out the assassination successfully.‚  “They didn’t believe they would be able to do it, but that they would get killed trying…they seemed determined to do it. Even if they were just to try it, it would be a trail of tears around the South.”

“The defendants stated that they would be willing to die during this attempt,” the ATF document states.

The two men told ATF authorities they planned on shooting and killing 88 African-Americans and decapitating another 14; the numbers 88 and 14 are symbolic in white supremacist society.

The number 14 symbolizes the white supremacist slogan written by neo-Nazi David Lane, and the number 88 symbolizes both the eighth letter in the alphabet (“HH” for Heil Hitler) and an 88-word statement from Hitler’s Mein Kampf; the inspiration for Lane’s modern slogan.

Daniel Cowart, 20, and Paul Schlesselman, 18, are currently being held without bond on charges of possessing an unregistered firearm, conspiring to steal firearms and threatening the life of a presidential candidate, according to the ATF document.

A sawed-off shotgun, a rifle and three pistols were confiscated from the men.‚  Authorities believe the men were planning to break into a local gun shop to pilfer additional firearms.

According to the ATF news release “Cowart allegedly traveled from Tennessee to Arkansas to pick up Schlesselman in order to carry out their plan.”‚  The two neo-Nazis attempted to rob a house but aborted their mission upon seeing a dog and two cars parked outside.

The men then purchased a bulk of nylon rope and two ski masks with the intention to commit robberies that would have ultimately funded their state-to-state murder campaign, the ATF document states.

The Secret Service became involved with the investigation when it was clear the killing spree involved an attack against Obama.

A spokeswoman traveling with Obama had no immediate comment regarding the incident, the Boston Globe reports.

This is the second assassination scare involving Obama.‚  During the Democratic National Convention in August, three men were suspected to have come to Denver to assassinate the presidential candidate.‚  Two of the three were believed to have had ties to white supremacy organizations.

About The Author

Sachin Seth is the Blast Magazine world news reporter. He writes the Terra blog. You can visit his website at or follow him on twitter @sachinseth

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