The grandmother of two Chicago-area men the feds claim conspired to support terrorism said she would have turned them in if she’d known what they were plotting.
“If I had known anything, I would have called the police myself,” said Lubertha Bates, of Aurora.
Bates, 64, said her grandsons — two of her more than 20 grandchildren — were “decent” with her and never talked to her about any radical ideas.
“I’m not really sure what they was thinking,” Bates said. “We are not affiliated with any terrorist act. We are not terrorists. We are Americans.”
Her large family, she said, is devastated by the accusations that 22-year-old Hasan Edmonds, a member of the Illinois National Guard, was planning to travel to Syria to fight alongside Islamic State terrorists. The government also says he’d plotted with his cousin, Jonas Edmonds, 29, to kill 120 of his fellow U.S. soldiers right here in Illinois.
Arrested Wednesday evening at Midway Airport as he attempted to fly to Cairo, Egypt, Hasan Edmonds had served with the 634th Brigade Support Battalion in Joliet. After he left the country, Jonas planned to disguise himself in Hasan’s uniform and attack the base where Hasan had been training, the feds say.
Jonas was arrested without incident at his home in Aurora around the same time his cousin was nabbed, authorities said. Hasan Edmonds had allegedly identified officers for him to target, telling him to “kill the head.”
Bates said she learned about the investigation of her grandkids only when FBI agents and other federal officials showed up Wednesday and searched her modest home.
“It was like a dream,” she said.
Bates wants to make sure the public knows her family did not know about or condone the two men’s allegedly radical views.
“Two of our family members have completely went berserk,” Bates said. “Where these young men get it from, we have no idea.”
Bates said she doesn’t plan to try to contact either one of them.
‘I don’t want to talk to Hasan and Jonas,” she said. “At this point, I’m just going to try to live my life without people harassing me.”
Bates said her son, Lieukennye Edmonds, who is in prison, is an observant Muslim and not radical in any way.
“He told his son [Hasan] to do something with his life,” Bates said.
Hasan Edmonds enlisted in the National Guard in August 2011 after graduating from West Aurora High School.
“I was so proud of him,” Bates said. “What happened from the National Guard to now? I could not tell you.”
This latest blow comes to Bates’ family after her daughter’s baby died recently.
“Every time I wipe the tears away,” the grandmother said, “more tears come.”