Mark Anthony Stroman
|Died||July 20, 2011 (aged 41)|
|Cause of death||Execution by lethal injection|
|Criminal penalty||Death (April 5, 2002)|
Mark Anthony Stroman (October 13, 1969 – July 20, 2011) was an American white supremacist and spree killer who was convicted and executed for a shooting spree in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. During the shooting spree in 2001, Stroman killed two people and injured a third. Stroman claimed he carried out the shooting spree in revenge for the 9/11 attacks. He specifically targeted Arabs or people who looked "of Muslim descent", but all his victims were from South Asia.
Stroman was allegedly abused as a child by his stepfather. According to a documentary film made on his case, Stroman got married at 15 and had children shortly after. He identified as a white supremacist and was a member of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas. Just prior to his shooting spree, he was free on bond for a gun possession arrest. Stroman had several previous convictions for burglary, theft, robbery and credit card fraud. He served at least two prison terms and had been paroled twice. His juvenile record showed he was involved in an armed robbery at the age of 12. He was covered in tattoos featuring Nazi and KKK images.
On September 16, 2001, Stroman walked into a Pleasant Grove convenience store in Dallas, Texas, called Mom's Grocery. He encountered 46-year-old Waqar Hasan, a Muslim Pakistani immigrant who owned the store and had moved to the area that same year. As Hasan grilled hamburgers, Stroman fatally shot Hasan in the head and fled the store.
On September 21, Stroman walked into a gas station in Dallas, where he encountered 28-year-old Rais Bhuiyan, who worked there as a cashier. Bhuiyan was a former Bangladeshi air force pilot. Stroman pointed a double-barreled shotgun at Bhuiyan. Thinking it was an armed robbery, Bhuiyan began to empty the cash register, but Stroman instead asked Bhuiyan where he was from. Before Bhuiyan could give a proper answer, Stroman shot him once in the head. Bhuiyan fell to the floor and collapsed while Stroman left the store. Bhuiyan was left partially blinded in his right eye from the shooting.
On October 4, Stroman shot and killed 49-year-old Vasudev Patel, a Hindu Indian immigrant who worked at a gas station in Mesquite, Texas. Patel had moved from India to Texas in 1983 and was a naturalized U.S. citizen. Stroman murdered Patel during an attempted armed robbery at the gas station, which was caught on video by a store security camera. Stroman entered the station with a .44-caliber handgun and demanded money from Patel. Patel tried reaching for a gun that he kept hidden under the counter, but Stroman shot Patel in the chest before he could grab it in time. Patel fell to the floor and lay dying while Stroman tried to force open the cash register. Unable to open the register, Stroman fled the store empty-handed.
Stroman was captured on October 5. He said he had targeted Arabs in revenge for the 9/11 attacks. He claimed his sister died during the attacks and was in the World Trade Center's North Tower when it collapsed, a story that has never been verified. He told police he was avenging the deaths of those who died on 9/11 and had targeted his victims specifically because they looked like people "of Muslim descent". At the time of his arrest he told police he had done what every American wanted to and that they were at war.
A year after the killings, Stroman expressed no remorse for his crimes. He wrote on his blog that what he did was not a crime of hate but an act of passion and patriotism. Up until his date of execution, Bhuiyan protested Stroman's death sentence, believing he did not deserve to be executed. Bhuiyan sued and tried to stop the execution but was unsuccessful. Bhuiyan argued that his Muslim beliefs told him to forgive Stroman and that killing him was not the solution. The courts denied his requests.
In his later years of imprisonment, Stroman expressed remorse for his crimes. After learning that a surviving victim of his shooting spree was appealing to save his life, Stroman changed his views, and described Bhuiyan as "an inspiring soul". His racist views were reportedly altered. He eventually spoke to Bhuiyan and thanked him for his compassion.
A documentary film called An Eye for an Eye was released in 2016 by filmmaker Ilan Ziv. The film documents Stroman's path from revenge killer to being forgiven by his victims. The film features interviews with family members of the victims as well as Stroman himself prior to his execution.
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