UPDATED: Four held in plot to ‘shoot Obama from a high vantage point’

Even as the FBI downplays a possible plot on Barack Obama’s life, CBS4’s Bryan Maass reports additional details that sound like it could have been a serious threat :

[At] least four people are under arrest in connection with a possible plot to kill Barack Obama at his Thursday night acceptance speech in Denver. All are being held on either drug or weapons charges.

CBS4 Investigator Brian Maass reported one of the suspects told authorities they were “going to shoot Obama from a high vantage point using a … rifle … sighted at 750 yards.”

Law enforcement sources tell Maass that one of the suspects “was directly asked if they had come to Denver to kill Obama. He responded in the affirmative.”

As reported earlier, Aurora police arrested 28-year-old Tharin Gartrell early Sunday morning after his rented pickup truck was seen swerving on the road.

Sources told CBS4 police found two high-powered, scoped rifles in the car along with camouflage clothing, walkie-talkies, a bulletproof vest, a spotting scope, licenses in the names of other people and methamphetamine. One of the rifles is listed as stolen from Kansas.

Mug shot of Tharin Gartrell, one of two men suspected of an assassination plot against Sen. Barack Obama. (Photo/Aurora Police Department)

Mug shot of Tharin Gartrell, one of two men suspected of an assassination plot against Sen. Barack Obama. (Photo/Aurora Police Department)

Subsequently authorities went to the Cherry Creek Hotel to contact an associate of Gartrell’s. But that man, who was wanted on numerous warrants, jumped out of a sixth floor hotel window. Law enforcement sources say the man broke an ankle in the fall and was captured moments later. Sources say he was wearing a ring with a swastika, and is thought to have ties to white supremacist organizations.

A third man — an associate of Gartrell’s and the hotel jumper — was also arrested. He told authorities that the two men “planned to kill Barack Obama at his acceptance speech.”

That man, along with a woman, are also under arrest.

Authorities have scheduled a news conference for Tuesday afternoon.

A Rocky Mountain News story just posted lists the names, arrest details and charging information for three of the suspects arrested early Sunday.

Detective Marcus Dudley, a police spokesman, would not comment on reports that the men were involved in a plot to kill Obama. He told reporters gathered in a parking lot behind the police station that he could not discuss the “federal implications” of the case or whether others beside the three men had been arrested. However, he did confirm that federal authorities were involved in arresting two of the men.

… Dudley identified the three suspects as:

* Tharin Robert Gartrell, 28, who was carrying a Colorado identification card that listed a Centennial address. Gartrell was erratically driving a rented 2008 blue Dodge Ram truck that was not registered in his name. The guns, ammo, drugs and other equipment were found in the truck.

* Nathan Johnson, 32. About three hours after Gartrell’s arrest, police from Aurora, Denver and Greenwood Village, and federal agents arrested Johnson at a hotel near Interstate 25 and Belleview Avenue. He is being held on drug charges in Denver. His bond amount was not available.

* Shawn Robert Adolf, 33. Police and federal agents arrested Adolf at the Cherry Creek Hotel at 600 South Colorado Boulevard in Glendale around 5 a.m. Sunday after he jumped from a sixth-floor window. Adolf was injured when he fell four stories onto the second-floor roof of the hotel kitchen. He then jumped again onto the ground around the hotel, where police caught him a short time later. Johnson was hospitalized with unspecified injuries from his fall. He is being held on 7 outstanding warrants with bonds totaling $1 million.

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Ernest Luning

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