Ohio Man Indicted in Plot to Attack Synagogue on Behalf of ISIS
A Holland, Ohio, man is charged in connection with a plot to kill worshippers inside a synagogue in support of ISIS. A federal grand jury indicted Damon M. Joseph (pictured) on January 29, charging him with attempting to provide material support to ISIS, attempting to commit a hate crime, and possessing firearms in furtherance of a crime of violence. Authorities arrested the 21-year-old on December 7 after meeting with an undercover FBI agent to pick up semi-automatic rifles rendered inoperable. Prosecutors said Joseph, also known as Abdullah Ali Yusuf, informed an agent the day before that he had selected a synagogue in Toledo, Ohio, as his target, and he wanted to kill a rabbi. He also said he had researched when more people would be present at the synagogue and pulled up photographs showing the inside of the synagogue while noting that he wanted the attack to begin in the sanctuary. Prosecutors said Joseph started planning the attack after telling undercover agents he admired the gunman in a shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue in October and could see himself carrying out that type of operation. Law enforcement began investigating Joseph after he reportedly posted images of weapons and messages supporting ISIS on social media and later expressed a desire to become a recruiter for the group.
3 Men Receive More Than 20 Years in Prison for Plot to Attack Muslims in Kansas
Three Kansas men will spend decades in prison after being sentenced for plotting to attack Muslims at an apartment complex. Patrick Stein, 49, Gavin Wright, 53, and Curtis Allen, 51, received sentences of 30, 26, and 25 years, respectively, on January 25 for planning to detonate a bomb at an apartment complex in Garden City, Kansas, where Somali immigrants live and worship. The three men, who prosecutors said during their trial called themselves “The Crusaders” and were part of a militia group called Kansas Security Force, intended on blowing up the complex on November 9, 2016—the day after Election Day. They met over several months to plan their attack, including building and testing explosives. An FBI informant, a fellow militia member, recorded conversations with the men as they discussed their plot, which involved filling four vehicles with explosives and parking them at each corner of the complex to level the building and kill the occupants. Stein also met with an undercover FBI agent posing as an arms dealer to obtain a bomb. A jury convicted them on April 18 of conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction and conspiracy to violate the housing rights of their intended victims. Wright was also found guilty of lying to the FBI in a matter involving domestic terrorism.
Accused Gunman in Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting Faces Additional Charges
The suspected shooter in an attack to a synagogue in Pittsburgh received 19 additional hate crime and firearm charges on January 29. Robert Bowers, 46, of Baldwin, Pennsylvania, had originally been charged with 44 counts in an indictment filed on October 31, bringing the total count to 63 charges. Of the new charges, 13 are hate crime violations, while the rest pertain to obstructing religious beliefs and discharging a firearm during crimes of violence. Bowers is accused of entering the Tree of Life Congregation Synagogue on October 27 with multiple guns and opening fire on worshippers, killing 11 people and injuring at least six. Bowers pleaded not guilty to federal hate crime charges in the original indictment on November 1.