VISTA, Calif. - The man accused of using the death of an Escondido police officer to scam San Diegans out of money spoke with 10News from behind bars.
Sami Saeed says he agreed to a jailhouse interview because he wants people to know his background.
"My family worked with al-Qaida and I got rescued by U.S. forces and brought here to the United States," said Saeed.
He went on to say that his family tortured him when he refused to become a suicide bomber when he was 14.
"They wanted me to do a suicide bomb and I didn't want to do the suicide bombing," said Saeed.
10News reporter Rachel Bianco asked, "So, you're telling me that U.S. forces rescued you, you came to the United States and now you're accused of ripping off US citizens?"
Saeed replied, "That's where they accuse me of making a website, which is … I didn't make that website."
He said he only made a website for a friend who has a daughter with cancer. Saeed blames that friend for making the fake site to raise money for Officer Laura Perez's daughter.
"I don't know who made it," said Saeed. "I'm assuming it's Sarah because she is the only other person who had the password."
Saeed said he was a translator and interrogator for the U.S. military. His Facebook page shows him wearing fatigues.
"I never tried to make any money out of people's suffering," he said. "I'm the one who assists people with suffering."
Detectives say they found stolen credit cards and cellphones in Saeed's house. He is accused of stealing the phones from shoppers when he was a mall security guard. He claims he took the phones from the lost and found and was planning to give them to charity.
"I'm innocent and I think, if I don't … if I get charged, I might be shipped back to Iraq," said Saeed. "I'll definitely get killed there because there's a $60,000 price on my head in my country."
The 25-year-old remains jailed in Vista. Bond was set at $200,000.