A man from Rochester, New York, was arrested on charges of supporting ISIS and planning an attack on New Year’s Eve.
Emanuel Lutchman, 25, a Muslim convert with mental health issues and previous convictions, was arrested after federal investigators say they discovered he was preparing a machete attack on diners at a restaurant or bar in Rochester, New York.
Federal prosecutors say Lutchman had been communicating with a member of ISIS in Syria who told him to kill non-Muslims on New Year’s Eve, reports NBC News.
Lutchman has been charged with providing physical support to ISIS, which is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
“New Year's is here soon. Do operations and kill some kuffar,” Lutchman's Syrian contact said to him, referring to killing nonbelievers, according to court documents.
The FBI says Lutchman pledged loyalty to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and wanted to leave the U.S. to live in the caliphate.
Earlier in December, Lutchman made contact with a man who called himself a “brother” of ISIS.
This man told Lutchman how fortunate he was to be living in the U.S. and how that permitted him to carry out attacks that his brothers overseas could only dream of, records state.
On Dec. 28, Lutchman met with an FBI informant, and spoke of his interactions with the terrorist organization.
He revealed that he wanted to target a bar or club, stating he would slip a bomb inside or maybe kidnap some people.
Lutchman was also quoted as saying, “I will take a life. I don't have a problem with that.”
He ultimately went to Wal-Mart, reports Democrat & Chronicle, where he bought a machete and masks for the job, telling the informant, “It's going to get real after this. It's just you, me and the Lord.”
He added: “We gotta do this, we gotta do this precise. If we grab somebody, they can't live. They may identify the vehicle. They can't live.”
Lutchman was arrested on Dec. 30 and appeared in court on Dec. 31. NBC News reports he has another court date on Jan. 8.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, The case is still being examined by the FBI’s Rochester Joint Terrorism Task Force. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brett A. Harvey with the help of Trial Attorney Lawrence Schneider of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.
“This New Year’s Eve prosecution underscores the threat of ISIL even in upstate New York but demonstrates our determination to immediately stop any who would cause harm in its name,” said U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr.
Lutchman was detained for robbery in 2006 and served five years in prison, according to the criminal records. He has also had multiple mental health arrests.
Beverley Carridice, Lutchman's grandmother, told NBC News he had suffered from psychological problems since childhood and had recently attempted to kill himself by stabbing himself in the stomach.
Lutchman was raised a Christian, but he converted to Islam while serving five years in prison for robbery, she said, adding that she had never witnessed him convey any extremist beliefs or veneration for ISIS.
Lutchman called her after his capture and said "it was a sting ... they set him up," said Carridice.