Jack Modig, 39, was arrested early Wednesday following a car chase and a fight with police officers in his apartment. In his car authorities say they found 30 gallons of gasoline and other bomb components, as well as four guns, two 22-inch machetes and 850 rounds of ammunition.
Modig said he was "an enemy against the Islamic Nation, and I was going to take care of business," says Sgt. Terry Reibling. He told police, "He was there to torch it (the center)Â… and to kill Iraqis," adds Arapahoe County Sheriff Pat Sullivan.
Modig is being held on $500,000 bond for investigation of possession of explosive devices, three counts of attempted vehicular assault, eluding, carrying concealed weapons and ethnic intimidation.
"It is scary," says Talibbudin Syed, president of the Colorado Muslim Society, which owns the mosque. "A major, major thing was prevented because of the efforts of the officers."
"We want to live as good citizens and friends of everybody. We don't do any harm or mean any harm to anybody," Syed adds. "All we can say is we appreciate the excellent work done by officers."
Modig has claimed some connection with the anti-government Common Law Court and a militia, but investigators say they do not believe anyone else is involved.
Sgt. Reibling says he spotted Modig's car in front of the mosque, but the driver fled as he approached. Authorities say Modig tried to ram police cars during the chase.
"This kind of behavior is alarming and intolerable," says the Rev. Lucia Guzman, director of the Colorado Council of Churches. "There seem to be more and more of these incidents that portray hate and divisiveness. They are a sign that the various religious communities need to do more to combat hate."
Denver has not been a hotbed of racist incidents, though a few crimes have drawn national attention. In 1984, Jewish radio talk show host Alan Berg was shot to death and two men belonging to a neo-Nazi group were convicted of his murder.
In late 1997, the city was rocked by a series of hate crimes, including the slaying of a West African man at a downtown bus stop by an admitted white supremacist.