At a Glance | March 19

Florida Teen Suspected in Triple Stabbing Investigated by FBI Over Possible Interest in ISIS

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A Florida teen who police say admitted to stabbing three people during a sleepover on March 12 was reportedly close to being arrested after a 14-month investigation into his terror-related activity. Corey Johnson (right) is accused of taking a knife to a friend’s house, where he killed an unrelated 13-year-old boy and wounded the friend’s mother and brother over comments Johnson deemed offensive to his Islamic faith. Johnson, 17, had watched jihadist videos with the friend and read the Koran prior to the stabbings to give him courage. Johnson barricaded himself inside a bedroom before being arrested by the SWAT team. He faces one murder and two attempted murder charges. Johnson was the subject of a joint investigation that included the FBI and local authorities over a belief that he had an interest in ISIS. Police reports indicate monitoring of Johnson’s social media activity showed he viewed videos from ISIS, although he denied affiliation with the group. He was also accused of threatening a school in England, being a white supremacist, and making anti-Semitic remarks. A week before the stabbings, an FBI agent reportedly told local police documents needed to arrest Johnson were being prepared.

Two Killed, Four Injured Following Explosions in Texas Capital

A series of four explosions over a 16-day span in Austin, Texas, left two dead and four more wounded. Draylen Mason, 17, was killed and his mother suffered injuries not considered life-threatening after opening a package in their kitchen on March 12. Later that day, authorities responded to another blast from a package left on the doorstep of a 75-year-old woman, who is listed in critical condition. These incidents followed a package explosion on March 2 that resulted in the death of Anthony Stephan House, 39. Police have not located a suspect nor determined a motive, but they are not ruling out a connection to hate crimes. The deceased are African-American, while the victim in the third explosion is Hispanic. Authorities are investigating whether a connection between the families in the first two incidents played a role, as well as whether the third incident involved an unintended target. A fourth explosion on March 18 left two white men with injuries not considered life-threatening. Police said the device was left on the side of the road and was set off by a tripwire, but they have yet to determine whether this incident is connected to the package explosions.

Report Finds White Supremacist Groups Increasingly Using Public Banners to Spread Messages

White supremacist extremists are turning toward the use of banners in highly visible locations at an increasing rate, according a report on March 14 by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). Since May 2017, the ADL recorded 72 incidents—an average of seven per month—in which white supremacists displayed banners in spots such as rooftops and highway overpasses to promote their organizations and ideologies. Identity Evropa is attributed with utilizing this tactic more than any other group with 28 of the incidents. Overall, banners were documented in 21 states, with Oregon accounting for the highest number of incidents. The ADL found most banners delivered anti-immigrant, racist, or anti-Semitic messages and had a self-promotional element, such as a group’s name. A banner stating “(((HEEBS))) Will Not Divide Us” hung by the group Vanguard America in July 2017 at a Holocaust memorial in Lakewood (Ocean County) was among 11 anti-Semitic incidents.

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