A 19-year-old from North Carolina was charged on June 22 for an alleged planned attack against Americans, after his father first alerted authorities to his son’s Islamic State group sympathies.
Justin Sullivan of Morganton was arrested on June 19 and later charged with what authorities said was a plot to gun down “a large number of citizens” in attacks to demonstrate his support for the Islamic State militant group.
Sullivan’s plot, according to the criminal complaint, consisted of the teen’s plan to buy a military-style rifle at a North Carolina gun show. He then reportedly intended to use the rifle to kill Americans “at a bar or concert.”
After his arrest, Yahoo News reports that Sullivan admitted in a subsequent interview with the FBI that he looked online for places to attack near his Morganton residence.
The complaint stated the FBI tracked Sullivan following his father’s call to police in late April to report his son’s Islamic State group sympathies. His father said the teen, who describes himself as a Muslim convert, scared the family after they found him attempting to burn Buddhist religious objects in their home in an seemingly Islamic State-inspired tirade, reported the New York Post.
“I don’t know if it is (Islamic State group) or what, but he (Justin Sullivan) is destroying Buddhas, and figurines and stuff,” his father said in a 911 call.
The complaint stated that Sullivan plotted with an undercover FBI agent this month to buy an AR-15 rifle. Sullivan reportedly told the undercover agent, “the war is here,” before asking the agent to send him a homemade silencer.
Sullivan allegedly planned to use the silencer to carry out “minor assassinations before the big attack for training.” Reports say he also planned to send a video to Islamic State.
According authorities, Sullivan spoke of a second attack during one of his last conversations with the undercover agent.
Sullivan is charged with one count of transporting and receiving a silencer in interstate commerce with intent to commit a felony, and one count of receipt and possession of an unregistered silencer, unidentified by a serial number.
According to Yahoo News, the charge of conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign organization carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Authorities believe Sullivan was radicalized by watching Islamic State group videos on social media, reports Yahoo News. He is due to appear in federal court in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Justice via People