Man Accused of Plotting ISIS-Inspired Attack on Ohio Synagogue
US authorities on Monday charged an Ohio man with providing material support to ISIS for an alleged plan to carry out a mass shooting attack at a synagogue.
Damon Joseph, 21, allegedly had made a detailed plan to kill worshipers at a synagogue in the city of Toledo during the Jewish Sabbath, which begins at sunset Friday and lasts until nightfall Saturday.
He was arrested Friday when he picked up two semi-automatic assault rifles from a federal undercover agent. Police said the rifles had been rendered inoperable.
Joseph has been under investigation for months, according to the Justice Department.
An affidavit filed in federal court claimed Joseph was inspired by ISIS online propaganda and the October shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue -- the worst anti-Semitic attack in modern US history in which 11 were killed.
"I admire what the guy did with the (Pittsburgh) shooting actually," Joseph wrote to an undercover agent, according to the affidavit.
A day before his arrest, authorities said Joseph provided a plan for his attack -- including the address of the synagogue and research to identify when more worshipers would be present.
An undercover agent met Joseph at a predetermined location Friday and he took a duffel bag containing two AR-15-type rifles, according to the affidavit. He then was arrested.
"This man spent months planning a violent terrorist attack on behalf of ISIS here in the United States," US Attorney Justin Herdman said in a statement.
"The charges describe a calculated man fueled by an ideology of hatred and intent on killing innocent people."
Court records show that Joseph was charged with domestic violence nearly two years ago and later entered an Alford plea, which acknowledges prosecutors have enough evidence to convict without admitting guilt.
Authorities also arrested Elizabeth Lecron, 23, of Toledo, on Monday after they said she bought bomb-making materials. She was charged with transporting explosives and explosive material with the purpose of harming others.