COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A local man was arrested by the Joint Terrorism Task Force, who is accusing him of paying money to a terrorist organization.
Friends and neighbors on Century Street said they can’t believe that 20-year-old Aaron Daniels is the same man. Authorities said Daniels was also using two alias’ Harun Muhammad and Abu Yusef. Authorities arrested him Monday morning trying to board a plane to Libya and the Middle East.
NBC4 looked into his past and has new details.
Friends and neighbors call Daniels a quiet, nice young man who never spoke of violence or conflicts in the Middle East.
VonTainia Edge said yesterday morning as she was leaving for work law enforcement vehicles nearly blocked her street.
“So on my way from work I saw the news, when they were saying it, I saw his picture first and they were saying terrorist and I thought it was fake, because I live across the street from him how is he a terrorist,” Edge said.
Edge said she has known Daniels for five years and often crossed the street to chat with him.
“He was really quiet and calm. It took a lot for me get stuff out of him, pretty much I would have to work for him to talk to me,” Edge said.
Then, she said he started distancing himself from neighbors a year ago.
“Like he started to stay in more and when we would typically come out and talk, he wouldn’t want to talk or be by himself,” said Edge.
A Columbus City Schools Spokesperson said Daniels attended Columbus Alternative High School, CAHS, but left before graduation. He then attended Early College Academy where the Superintendent said he was a quiet student who graduated in 2014.
About a year ago he started attending services at the Masjid Ibn-Taymia mosque, just blocks from his home. The Imam acknowledge that Daniels attended, but said he was quiet and rarely spoke with anyone in the congregation.
Edge said she is alarmed by Daniels new label.
“I’ve gotten the pleasure of sitting and talking about anything, everything like with no parents around and it is just us. He is not that kind of person, so for them to call him a terrorist is a little bit much,” Edge said.
Daniels will be back in federal court for a hearing on Thursday morning. For now he is being held without a bond.