A plot to detonate a shrapnel-laden bomb at a Long Beach rally last weekend was thwarted Friday by FBI agents who said the Army combat veteran behind the plan set out to commit mass murder.
“This investigation successfully disrupted a very real threat posed by a trained combat soldier who repeatedly stated he wanted to cause the maximum number of casualties,” said U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna for the Central District of California, in a Department of Justice statement announcing the arrest of 26-year-old Mark Steven Domingo. The former U.S. Army infantryman was arrested late Friday as he surveyed the Long Beach park that was to be the site of the planned terror attack, Department of Justice officials said in the statement.
Domingo expressed support for violent jihad, a desire to seek retribution for attacks against Muslims in New Zealand, and willingness to become a martyr. After considering various attacks, including targeting Jews and churches, he decided to detonate an IED at a Long Beach rally pic.twitter.com/6FWWj4IKIc
— Adam Milstein (@AdamMilstein) April 29, 2019
FBI thwart a‘mass casualties’terror plot in California that targeted white supremacists, Jews, churches and police officers by an Army veteran who converted to Islam and wanted retribution for the New Zealand mosque attacks
US veteran Mark Domingo, 26,arrested by federal officers pic.twitter.com/dBG6h0AC14
— @WADIBIG (@wadibig) April 29, 2019
Hanna said at a news conference Monday that Domingo had plotted to bomb a white supremacist rally in Bluff Park as retribution for the New Zealand mosque attacks, the Associated Press reported.
“Protecting Americans from terror attacks is the number one priority of the Justice Department, and anyone who plots to use a weapon of mass destruction will be held to account,” Hanna said.
Agents arrested Domingo, 26, of Reseda, after he received a dummy bomb from an undercover law enforcement officer that he thought was a live explosive, authorities said. The former U.S. Army infantryman, who saw combat in Afghanistan, now faces federal charges in the terrorist plot.
Authorities at the FBI’s Los Angeles field office said the public was not in danger and that no threat currently exists.
But a 38-page affidavit unsealed Monday unspooled Domingo’s alleged plot and its withering lethality: A nail-filled improvised explosive device, specially constructed, Domingo told an undercover source, to tear through flesh and internal organs.
Domingo faces federal charges of providing and attempting to provide material support to terrorists. If convicted, Domingo would face as many as 15 years in federal prison.
“Domingo…wanted to use improvised explosives devices against innocent civilians and he selected components that would make the bombs even more deadly to the victims he targeted,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, in the statement.
Department of Justice officials said Domingo said “America needed another Vegas event,” a reference to the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas that left 59 people dead and more than 500 wounded when a lone gunman opened fire on an outdoor country music festival from his hotel room.
A March 13 online post by Domingo after the coordinated attacks on mosques in New Zealand stated “there must be retribution,” said federal authorities. Domingo, who prosecutors said had converted to Islam, posted online and communicated with an FBI source about violent jihad. He’d mulled numerous targets from churches to law enforcement, Jews and a military facility before training his focus onto the Long Beach rally, authorities alleged.
During an April 3 meeting, Domingo allegedly expressed support for ISIS during an April 3 meeting with the confidential source, saying “if ISIS ‘came here,’ he would swear allegiance to ISIS,” according to the complaint.
He had his connection — the secret FBI informant — find a bomb-maker while he purchased the 3-inch nails needed for the IED and surveyed the Long Beach rally site, authorities allege.
Federal authorities said Domingo quickly worked and plotted to set the plan into motion, and 10 days ago — April 19 — they said the alleged plot solidified. Domingo allegedly met the secret FBI insider armed with an assault rifle, “to show you that I’m serious,” according to the government’s criminal complaint, and dispatched the undercover source to find someone to build an improvised bomb.
“The individual charged in this case wanted to carry out a mass casualty attack with explosive devices, and he moved very quickly from talking about violence to mobilizing to commit such an attack,” said Assistant Director Michael McGarrity of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division, in the Monday statement announcing Domingo’s arrest.
Friday night, the undercover source delivered “multiple inert devices, which Domingo believed were weapons of mass destruction,” according to the statement. The arrest came out of an investigation by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, which includes members of Los Angeles police and sheriff’s departments, Long Beach Police Department and U.S. Navy criminal investigators.
Domingo inspected the devices, scoped out the Long Beach park and the site of the planned bloodshed, and was arrested, the statement said.
White nationalists never gathered for the planned Nazi rally Sunday, and counterprotesters instead rallied for peace, the Associated Press reported.
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