The son of a Boston police chief was detained July 4 in a crackdown on an alleged terrorist plot.
Alexander Ciccolo, 23, also went by the name Abu Ali Al Amriki, and was arrested after reportedly taking a delivery of four firearms.
“This is a very bad person arrested before he could do very bad things,” a federal official told ABC.
The FBI allege Ciccolo purchased weapons to prepare for a terrorist attack in an unknown town with a state university. A court affidavit stated that the attack would target “college dorms and cafeteria, to include executions of students, which would be broadcast live via the Internet.”
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The alleged weapons included a pressure cooker purchased by Ciccolo, who is accused of planning to turn it in to a bomb.
An FBI agent said in a court document that Ciccolo said he was “not afraid to die for the cause,” and called America “Satan” and “disgusting.”
Police Captain Robert Ciccolo informed authorities last year that his son “was going off the deep end” and “spouting extremist jihadist sympathies.” The police officer had not been in regular contact with his son for several years, ABC reports.
“While we were saddened and disappointed to learn of our son's intentions, we are grateful that authorities were able to prevent any loss of life or harm to others,” a statement from the Ciccolo family said. “At this time, we would ask that the public and the media recognize our grief and respect our desire for privacy.”
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According to the Boston Globe, the FBI ordered a “cooperating witness” to make contact with Ciccolo and discuss his plans after a Facebook profile under the name Abu Ali Al Amriki was discovered. It remains unclear whether Ciccolo had any plans to carry out an attack prior to this contact with an agent.
“Awesome. Awesome, you that ah, that brother in Tunisia was impressive,” Ciccolo allegedly told the witness, according to an affidavit reported by ABC. This was a reference to the June 26 terrorist attack at a beach resort in Tunisia where 38 people were killed.
Ciccolo’s arrest was one of 10 made by the FBI around July 4.
“I do believe that our work disrupted efforts to kill people, likely in connection with July Fourth,” FBI Director James Comey commented last week.
Ciccolo is due in court July 14 for a detention hearing. He has been held since his arrest on firearms charges.