Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa terror suspect grew distant, penned violent rap lyrics

The Kosovo-born American citizen accused of plotting bomb attacks around Tampa was a loner who had grown increasingly radical in his Muslim faith and once wrote rap lyrics about killing Jews, according to relatives and friends.

Those who know Sami Osmakac said he mostly kept to himself while attending high school in Pinellas County. He loved rap music and rapped about bombs and killing in a song he made with a friend, according to one classmate.

Family members told the Associated Press that Osmakac, 25, was born in the village of Lubizde in Kosovo, a tiny hamlet of scattered houses near the Cursed Mountains that divide Kosovo from Albania. The area is home to many adherents to Sufism, a mystical Islamic order whose members often pray over the tombs of revered saints.

Difficult living conditions and simmering ethnic intolerance sent his family searching for prosperity elsewhere. They moved to what are now Croatia and Bosnia, eventually fleeing to Germany and then the United States.

Osmakac was "a quiet and fun boy," said his aunt Time Osmankaj. She said his family regularly sent money home to relatives left behind. The family returned to Kosovo for summer visits. In recent years, she said they noticed a change in Sami: He grew a beard, donned religious garments, and was frequently accompanied by two devout Muslims from Albania and two from Bosnia. Authorities in Kosovo have said he used recent visits to meet with Islamic radicals.

Avni Osmakac told a Tampa television station that his brother tried to travel to Saudi Arabia last year to study Islam, but never got farther than Turkey due to visa problems. Sami wanted to become an imam and teach Islam in the Middle East, his brother said.

Osmakac's family settled in Pinellas Park, where his father opened a bakery. Osmakac attended at least two high schools and was mostly a loner, classmate Alan Stokling wrote in an email to the Associated Press.

"We were just the 'ghosts' at Lakewood High School," he wrote. "He was one of those government rebel types. … All of our conversations consisted of him talking about how stupid everybody at the school was. Not just the students, but the teachers, the people who financed institutions like it."

Stokling said the two did make a rap song together using a friend's studio. They recorded their parts separately. Stokling said Osmakac rapped about killing Jews.

"The weirdest ad libs I'd ever heard," Stokling said. "They were so beyond the realm of what was accepted back then as far as what was a consistency in the realm of a rap song that it was comical."

The two discussed religion only once, when Osmakac asked about Stokling's religion. When Stokling said he was a Christian, "He got kind of quiet then started laughing to himself under his breath in a smug fashion. In his own mind he seemed to be an elitist. That's the vibe I got from him."

Tampa terror suspect grew distant, penned violent rap lyrics 01/14/12 [Last modified: Saturday, January 14, 2012 9:22pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Can a Democrat win Florida's gubernatorial nomination without knocking Donald Trump?

    Blogs

    ...."I may not respect the occupant of the office, but I respect the office," (Philip) Levine said. "Right now he's the pilot, and I'm on the plane like everybody else. I don't wish the pilot failure. I want a smooth and safe landing."

    Philip Levine will announce his plans in October, and it looks likely he runs
  2. Forecast: Rain, heat prevails for Tampa Bay through weekend as tropics gear up

    Weather

    The summertime pattern of mid- to late-day showers and scorching temperatures will persist across Tampa Bay on Friday and throughout the weekend.

    Tampa Bay's 7 day forecast. [WTSP]
  3. Is Bucs kicker Nick Folk a significant upgrade over Roberto Aguayo?

    Bucs

    Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter made it clear.

    Bucs kicker Nick Folk is entering his 11th NFL season. He spent three seasons with the Cowboys and seven with the Jets. [LOREN ELLIOTT  |  Times]
  4. Florida education news: Student discipline, online learning, solar eclipse glasses and more

    Blogs

    STUDENT DISCIPLINE: Everyone wants their child to behave in school. But sometimes defining what that means causes dissention. That was the case this week at a Pasco County elementary school, which A Pasco County elementary school has adopted a new behavior model that encourages cooperation and responsibility. Some parents are upset that it also seems to support giving in to peer pressure.

  5. Pinellas wants to see impact of tourism bucks spent on big events

    Local Government

    CLEARWATER –– Pinellas County relies on more than just beaches to attract visitors. County government also spends millions to help sponsor big-name events to draw even more tourists.

    The Pinellas County Tourist Development Council awareded up to $250,000 to help sponsor the 2018 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]