A former Utah State Eastern basketball coach is accused of entering a Utah elementary school while wearing a mask and what observers said appeared to be flowing green Arabic garb after allegedly declaring himself a radical Islamic jihadist.
Christopher Craig has been in the news before for a series of bizarre incidents that date back several years and range from allegedly driving on a school playground to allegedly saying churches would be destroyed.
He told the news media on September 19 that he goes by the name “Muhammad Allah Al-Khidr” and now defines himself as a radical Islamic Jihadist, according to The El Paso Times. Craig was head coach of the USU Eastern basketball team from 2007 to 2010, says The Deseret News.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Masked Man Who Said He Was Craig Entered Eagle Mountain Elementary School
The masked intruder entered Eagle Mountain Elementary School in Utah and said the students should leave if they did not want to get hurt, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.
Photos showed the man in what people said appeared to be Middle Eastern garb.
The Salt Lake Tribune said the school in Eagle Mountain, Utah was then evacuated of students and employees, who are all safe. However, the bizarre situation was still unfolding with reports of police snipers at the scene.
One person posted videos from outside the school on Facebook live. Watch:
That woman later wrote on Facebook, “So I can’t go live again guys I was evacuated by the PD with my family. What I have up is what I have. Eagle mountain is shut down no one in. We don’t know much right now. No idea if anyone is in there we where told they evacuated the kids.”
2. Craig Drove Onto a School Playground in the Past Wearing a Turban & ‘Arabic-Style Clothing,’ Reports Say
A newspaper article from the playground incident in 2014 in the Deseret News said Craig “was wearing what we would term Arabic-style clothing, complete with a turban on his head.” That article also said was arrested after driving onto the school playground.
3. Craig Allegedly Sent the News Media Notes That Said He Was a ‘Radical Islamic Jihadist’
The El Paso Times said Craig allegedly sent a note to the media threatening the Utah school on September 19.
The newspaper said that it and other media received an email from Craig stating that he “will call 911 with a threat of an explosive and drive onto my 9yr olds elementary school, Eagle Valley Elementary, with a True Explosive.”
The El Paso Times said Craig also wrote that he “was born into this world under the slave name of Christopher Craig. Currently, I am known as The Radical Islamic Jihadist Muhammad Allah Al-Khidr.”
According to KHOU, the email allegedly from Craig “goes on to make a number of rambling statements that include racist comments. At one point he wrote, ‘Racism is the reason for my hunger strike, to take this conversation deeper, to The Truth, Core, and roots.'”
There were reports that the masked man had explosives.
One woman posted photos and said the incident was unfolding across the street from her house.
The Daily Herald said the man entered the school office at 2:15 p.m. and said, “evacuate the kids and no one will get hurt.”
4. Churches Were Warned About Craig in the Past After He Said They Would Be Destroyed
The Associated Press wrote in 2013 that churches were warned about the man, who was calling himself an “Islamic Jihadist.”
In that incident, Craig allegedly went around “saying that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and members of the Catholic Church ‘would be destroyed’ in the coming weeks,” said AP.
In 2013, The Sporting News wrote in a Tweet: “An Ex-UTEP player has police on alert after describing himself as an ‘Islamic Jihadist.'”
KHOU-TV said that, in 2013, Craig “allegedly entered a classroom at Eastern Arizona College and began yelling obscenities after asking an instructor if he was Mormon” and also was accused of driving around in Steamboat Springs, Colorado “filming himself with a white shirt around his head and a bandanna covering his face” and claiming to be an “Islamic Jihadist.”
5. Craig Is a Former Basketball Coach & Basketball Player
Craig was the head coach at Utah State University Eastern in Price from 2007 to 2010, according to the La Cruces Sun-Times and left to become an assistant at Northern Colorado University in Greeley and then became head coach at Midland College in Texas.
He resigned after officials allegedly found “end-of-the-world postings” he had made.
Craig also played at University of Texas in El Paso from 2002-2004. KHOU said he also “played in the NCAA tournament during one of UTEP’s runs under Billy Gillispie.”