Manhattan U.S. Attorney Charges Man with Murdering Members of the United States Air Force in Germany

PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, JANICE K. FEDARCYK, the Assistant Director-In-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and RAYMOND W. KELLY, the Police Commissioner of the City of New York, announced today the filing of a criminal Complaint against ARID UKA, a/k/a “Abu Reyyan,” charging UKA with murdering and attempting to murder United States Air Force (“USAF”) personnel in Frankfurt, Germany, on March 2, 2011. The Complaint charges UKA with two counts of murdering officers of the United States Government, one count of attempting to murder officers of the United States Government, one count of using a firearm during a crime of violence resulting in death, and one count of committing an act of violence at an international civil airport resulting in the death of another person. UKA, 21, is currently in custody in Germany.

According to the Complaint filed today in Manhattan federal court:

On March 2, 2011, UKA approached a bus used to transport USAF personnel parked outside of Frankfurt International Airport. After confirming that the bus was used to transport United States military personnel, UKA approached Nicholas Alden, a member of the USAF, from behind and shot and killed him. After murdering Alden, UKA boarded the bus, in which approximately fifteen other USAF personnel were seated. Once on board the bus, UKA shot and killed the driver of the bus, Zachary Ryan Cuddeback, another member of the USAF. UKA then repeatedly fired his gun inside the bus at other USAF members, shooting and badly injuring two other USAF members on the bus. As UKA fired his gun, he repeated aloud an Arabic expression that means, “God is great,” and continued shooting until his gun did not fire. UKA then ran off the bus, pursued by a USAF member, and was ultimately apprehended by German law enforcement officers in the airport terminal.

Mr. BHARARA praised the investigative efforts of the Joint Terrorism Task Force (“JTTF”) in New York, especially those JTTF members from the FBI and the New York City Police Department; the Air Force Office of Special Investigations; and the FBI’s Legal Attaché offices in Germany. He also thanked the Department of Justice’s National Security Division and Office of International Affairs for their assistance in this case, and thanked German law enforcement officials and prosecutors, who are conducting their own investigation of this case under German law.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys JOHN P. CRONAN, EDWARD Y. KIM, and ANNA M. SKOTKO from the Office’s Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit are in charge of the prosecution.

The charges and allegations contained in the Complaint are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.