Shoe bomb suspect sent e-mails before boarding flight

Tuesday, January 22, 2002

PARIS -- The man accused of trying to blow up an American Airlines plane with bombs hidden in his sneakers spent hours sending e-mails before leaving Paris, the manager of a cybercafe said.

Richard C. Reid, 28, visited the Happy Call cybercafe twice on Dec. 20, two days before boarding a Paris-Miami flight, the manager said. Days later, police confiscated the hard drives from eight computers at the cafe in a northern Paris, said the manager.

"He was very tall and he was very dirty," the manager said, adding that Reid spent four hours on the Internet at the cybercafe on two different occasions

Reid, a British citizen, allegedly used e-mails to contact numerous people, including his mother and people at mosques in Europe. He sent out a final message in which he said he was a "martyr for the Islamic cause," said reports in the French press.

Reid took the flight on Dec. 22 and was overpowered by flight attendants and passengers after allegedly trying to light a fuse attached to a sophisticated explosive lodged in his sneaker.

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