A Ohio man was arrested on Friday for allegedly plotting to conduct a shooting attack at a synagogue in the Toledo area.
The suspect, 21-year-old Damon M. Joseph, has been charged in a federal court with one count of attempting to provide material support to ISIS.
He was brought into custody after taking possession of two AR-15 rifles.
According to the US Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of Ohio, Joseph spoke in admiration of the October massacre of 11 Jewish worshipers at a Pittsburgh synagogue — carried out by a white supremacist — in a conversation with an undercover FBI agent.
“I can see myself carrying out this type of operation inshallah,” Joseph was quoted as saying. “They wouldn’t even expect [an attack] in my area.”
Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers said, “Damon Joseph was allegedly inspired by ISIS’ call to violence and hate. He planned to carry out an attack at a Toledo area synagogue in the name of ISIS, and hoped that it would cause fear and result in a maximum number of casualties. I commend the agents, analysts, and prosecutors who identified the threat posed by this defendant and took action to protect the public from his plans.”
US Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio Justin E. Herdman added, “This man spent months planning a violent terrorist attack on behalf of ISIS here in the United States, and eventually targeted a Jewish synagogue in the Toledo area. The charges describe a calculated man fueled by an ideology of hatred and intent on killing innocent people. The FBI, our police and Justice Department employees are to be credited for working to stop the defendant before he could act.”
FBI Acting Special Agent in Charge Jeff Fortunato noted that “in a matter of months, Damon Joseph progressed from radicalized, virtual jihadist to attack planner.”
“Joseph will now be accountable in a court of law for his pursuit of a violent act of terrorism upon our fellow citizens attending their desired house of worship,” Fortunato said.
The Anti-Defamation League’s Cleveland regional director, Jeremy Pappas, stated, “We are tremendously grateful to federal and local law enforcement for apprehending the suspect, and for working so diligently to prevent our community from experiencing another horrific terrorist attack. The Jewish community is still grieving following the October attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, and it’s shocking to hear another attack was being planned.”
An affidavit filed in the US District Court in Toledo said Joseph came under law-enforcement scrutiny after he posted pictures of knives and weapons — as well as a photo originally disseminated by the media wing of ISIS — on social media sites.