Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

USF grad disputes testimony that he fired at gun range

TAMPA — Karim Moussaoui testified Tuesday that a man who said he saw him violate his student visa by shooting a rifle at a gun range last summer was mistaken.

"I'm sure he lied," Moussaoui, 28, said on the witness stand during his trial. "If he's not mistaken, then I'm sure he lied. Because his answer was not true."

Earlier in the day, Bobby Robinson testified that Moussaoui fired the weapon as Robinson approached a shooting stall next to him at the Shoot Straight gun range. He said he heard a distinct "pa-tat" sound from the Walter G22 rifle that Moussaoui held.

At the time, Moussaoui, a native of Morocco, was a student at the University of South Florida. He has since graduated.

Federal law prohibits people with student visas from possessing firearms. Authorities charged Moussaoui with a crime after finding a photograph of him posing with the rented rifle on Youssef Megahed's home computer. Megahed, 22, is awaiting trial on a federal explosives charge with co-defendant Ahmed Mohamed, 26. Both are suspended USF students.

Along with the photograph, investigators used gun range surveillance footage to show Moussaoui positioning the rifle on his shoulder and pointing it down-range on July 19.

Moussaoui said the weapon wasn't loaded. He said he insisted that Megahed empty any bullets before handing it to him to pose for a photo to commemorate his first time inside a gun shop.

"I wanted a souvenir," Moussaoui said. "Wherever I travel, I take pictures. A Kodak moment."

Moussaoui's former defense attorney once described the charge against him as a ploy to keep Moussaoui in the country to testify at the explosives trial. Moussaoui had plans to return to Morocco to work for his dad.

Megahed and Mohamed were arrested Aug. 4 after a South Carolina deputy stopped them for speeding, then found what experts classified as low-grade explosives in their trunk. The men have said they were traveling with homemade fireworks.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Monk attempted Tuesday to question Moussaoui about the South Carolina trip. Moussaoui said Megahed had invited him to go, but he declined. He had made plans to visit New York City during a school break.

Attorneys will make closing statements today.

Kevin Graham can be reached at or (813) 226-3433.

USF grad disputes testimony that he fired at gun range 04/01/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 2, 2008 4:57am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Joe Maddon: What my time in Tampa Bay meant, and still means, to me

    The Heater

    Editor's note: The Rays next week in Chicago will meet up for the first time with former manager Joe Maddon, who is in his third year leading the Cubs after nine with the Rays. In advance of the Tuesday-Wednesday series, we asked Maddon to share his thoughts in a column on what his time in Tampa Bay meant to …

    Joe Maddon waits to greet B.J. Upton after Upton's home run in Game 2 of the ALCS in 2008 at Tropicana Field. [Times files (2008)]
  2. First WannaCry, now cyberattack Petya spreads from Russia to Britain


    Computer systems from Russia to Britain were victims of an international cyberattack Tuesday in a hack that bore similarities to a recent one that crippled tens of thousands of machines worldwide.

    A computer screen cyberattack warning notice reportedly holding computer files to ransom, as part of a massive international cyberattack, at an office in Kiev, Ukraine, on Tuesday.  A new and highly virulent outbreak of malicious data-scrambling software appears to be causing mass disruption across Europe.
[Oleg Reshetnyak via AP]
  3. Pinellas sheriff's corporal had racist, sexist, pornographic content on his cell phone

    Public Safety

    LARGO — A Pinellas County sheriff's corporal resigned recently after an investigation into an alleged extramarital affair revealed a trove of racist, sexist and pornographic images on his personal cell phone.

    Shawn Pappas, 46, resigned as a training division corporal from the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office after an investigation revealed a trove of offensive images and videos on his phone. This photo was taken as a screenshot from one of the videos released by the Sheriff's Office that Pappas filmed while on duty. [Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
  4. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine reflects on the news from the Congressional Budget Office analysis that could imperil GOP leaders' hopes of pushing their health care the plan through the chamber this week, Tuesday, on Capitol Hill in Washington. [AP photo]
  5. Review: Dan Auerbach, Benjamin Booker plumb the past for inspiration on new albums

    Music & Concerts

    It didn't take Benjamin Booker long to get lumped in with the greats. The Tampa-raised singer-songwriter's 2014 self-titled blues-punk debut brought widespread acclaim, not to mention an appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman, a tour with Jack White and sessions with Mavis Staples.

    The cover of Benjamin Booker's new album "Witness." Credit: ATO Records