Federal and local law enforcement officials prevented a domestic terror plot targeting multiple locations in Southern California, arresting an army veteran Friday night, according to investigators at a news conference Monday afternoon in Los Angeles.
The suspect, identified as Mark Steven Domingo, is described as a recent convert to Islam who wanted retribution for the mosque attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March.
Update 8:45 p.m EDT April 29: The family of alleged terrorist plotter Mark Steven Domingo released a statement Monday saying they knew nothing about the incident and asking for privacy.
“We do not know what is going on at this point,” according to the family statement, KCBS-TV reported.
“We are surprised by all of these events in regard to Mark.”
“I hope you will respect our privacy in this matter, as we are distressed by all this,” the statement continued.
Domingo’s brother, James Domingo, told KCBS his family is shocked over the allegations.
Update 6:30 p.m. EDT April 29: Authorities, at a press conference in Los Angeles Monday on the thwarting of a planned terrorist attack by a U.S. military veteran, stressed there was “no ongoing threat to the public.”
Suspect Mark Steven Domingo is facing charges of providing and attempting to provide material support to terrorists, The Los Angeles Times reported.
“His arrest today mitigates the threat he posed to others in the Los Angeles community,” John C. Demers, the assistant attorney general for the Justice Department national security division, said.
An undercover agent provided Domingo with a fake IED, or improvised explosive device. Investigators said Domingo then bought several hundred nails.
“Domingo said he specifically bought three-inch nails because they would be long enough to penetrate the human body and puncture internal organs,” a federal affidavit states, according to the Times.
The criminal complaint filed Monday against Domingo, of Reseda, said he “planned and took steps to manufacture and use a weapon of mass destruction in order to commit mass murder.”
Update 5:00 p.m. EDT April 29: Los Angeles terrorist suspect Mark Steven Domingo, 26, planned to set off “pressure cooker bombs” at a white nationalist rally in Long Beach, California, over the weekend, authorities said in a press conference on the planned attack.
Domingo drove to several stores to buy long nails he planned to put inside the IEDs, investigators said, according to KCAL-TV.
He believed that “Americans should pay for attacks on Muslims around the world.”
Update 4:30 p.m. EDT April 29: Investigators said terrorist suspect Mark Steven Domingo, 26, planned an attack to cause “mass casualties” and was caught by an undercover agent after taking possession of what he thought was a live bomb, law enforcement officials said Monday, according to The Los Angeles Times.
Domingo also spoke of wanting to cause a “mass murder” scenario similar to the Las Vegas massacre and was specifically targeting white nationalists, Jews, churches and military bases.
Investigators said Domingo considered several attacks and planned to detonate an IED at a rally scheduled in Long Beach, California, this past weekend.
Original story: Law enforcement nabbed the suspect during an online sting. The FBI arrested the person, who was only described as a U.S. military veteran, the Times reported.
The Associated Press identified the alleged suspect as Mark Domingo.
The source, who spoke to the newspaper on the condition of anonymity, said the suspect had specific targets.
One of the targets was a Nazi rally in Long Beach, the AP reported. The rally did not happen.
NBC News is reporting Domingo was accused of targeting LAPD officers and planned to plant explosives at Santa Monica Pier and area freeways.
Domingo was charged with providing material support to terrorists. According to court paperwork, he wanted revenge for attacks on New Zealand mosques earlier this month, the AP reported.
A news conference is scheduled for Monday afternoon.
News of the case came days after a deadly shooting at Chabad of Poway synagogue. One person was killed and three others were wounded.
Check back for the latest on this developing story.
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