A U.S. Army veteran who allegedly planned to carry out a terror plot targeting a white nationalist rally in California and hoped to cause mass causalities has been arrested following an FBI sting operation.
Mark Domingo, 26, a U.S. Army infantryman who fought in Afghanistan and later converted to Islam, was arrested by an undercover officer on Friday after he was allegedly given what he thought was a live bomb to use in the attack.
Domingo, who wanted retribution for the recent deadly New Zealand mosque attacks, allegedly had plans to plant the bomb at a Nazi rally on Sunday in the Los Angeles suburb of Long Beach.
He was charged in a federal criminal complaint with providing and attempting to provide material support to terrorists and was scheduled to make an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles later on Monday.
Prosecutors said Monday that Mark Domingo, 26, was arrested on Friday for planning to plant a bomb at a Nazi rally Sunday in Long Beach. Domingo allegedly told an FBI informant that he wanted to kill LAPD officers and set off more explosives along freeways in Los Angeles
White nationalists never showed up to the planned event in Bluff Park, but a large group of counter protesters (pictured) demonstrated
Domingo had posted about potential attacks in online chat rooms, according to prosecutors. His series of online posts are what led authorities to send an informant to set up a series of meetings with Domingo.
He went on to have online conversation with an undercover FBI informant in which he expressed support for a violent jihad and expressed willingness to become a ‘martyr’, according to a criminal complaint.
He also allegedly made references at different points to the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and 2017 shooting rampage at a Las Vegas country music concert.
He allegedly discussed several types of attacks with the informant, including targeted attacks on Jews, churches, police officers and even his neighbor.
Domingo contemplated drive by shootings and detonating a bomb at the popular Santa Monica pier before deciding to detonate an improvised explosive device at the rally in Long Beach on Sunday that he believed was organized by white nationalists.
An FBI spokeswoman confirmed that the rally took place as scheduled on Sunday. White nationalists never showed up to the rally but a large group of counter protesters demonstrated.
In a series of disturbing online posts, Domingo allegedly wrote: ‘America needs another Vegas event (to be honest) to kick off civil unrest… and it’s not about winning the civil war, it’s about weakening America. Giving them a taste of the terror they gladly spread all over the world.’
Prosecutors say he was referring to the Las Vegas Route 91 concert massacre that claimed the lives of 58 people back in 2017.
He also allegedly wanted revenge for the recent New Zealand mosque attacks that killed 50 people last month.
‘There must be retribution,’ he allegedly wrote in one online post.
‘I feel like I should make a Christian’s life miserable tomorrow for our fallen bros (and) sis in New Zealand… maybe a Jew’s life… they shed our blood… no Muslim should have to experience this, a message needs to be sent,’ he wrote in another post.
He allegedly told the informant that he thought about blowing up popular attraction, Santa Monica Pier. Other conversations included Domingo telling the informant that he wanted to kill officers from the LAPD and set off more explosives along freeways in Los Angeles.
When investigators asked Domingo if he was intending to get caught, he responded: ‘Martyrdom, bro.’
Domingo (pictured), an infantryman who served in Afghanistan, has been charged with providing material support to terrorists
According to a criminal complaint, Domingo told investigators that he had been planning since March to ‘manufacture and use a weapon of mass destruction in order to commit mass murder’.
Domingo allegedly bought parts, including nails, for an improvised explosive device that would be remotely triggered.
In the affidavit, Domingo said he specifically purchased three-inch nails because they would be long enough to penetrate the human body and puncture internal organs.
In some of the conversations with the informant, Domingo talked about finding someone to make the explosives.
‘I’ll be honest. I’m smart in history but I failed chemistry. Science is not my forte… If he doesn’t want to make it, don’t force him,’ he allegedly told the informant.
‘But ask him how. Details… F**king to the letter details. Ask him.’
Domingo allegedly arrived at one meeting with the informant armed with an AK-47-style assault weapon.
He and the confidential informant visited the planned site of the rally to scout the best location to place explosives to cause the greatest casualties, authorities said.
If they survived the planned bombing in Long Beach, Domingo discussed launching further attacks on the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles or on a train.
‘We’ll both make it. I just don’t know how,’ Domingo allegedly said in another conversation.
Domingo allegedly had plans to plant the bomb at a Nazi rally on Sunday in Long Beach
He allegedly told the informant that he thought about blowing up popular attraction, Santa Monica Pier (pictured above)
Domingo could face a maximum sentence of 15 years in federal prison if convicted.
‘This investigation successfully disrupted a very real threat posed by a trained combat soldier who repeatedly stated he wanted to cause the maximum number of casualties,’ U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna said.
‘Protecting Americans from terror attacks is the number one priority of the Justice Department, and anyone who plots to use a weapon of mass destruction will be held to account.’
The news of Domingo’s alleged domestic terror plot comes less than 48 hours after John Earnest, 19, was arrested for allegedly shooting dead one woman and injuring three others at a synagogue in San Diego.
Earnest was identified by police as the gunman who burst into the Chabad of Poway near San Diego on Saturday, the last day of Passover, and opened fire with an assault-style rifle.
About 100 congregants were worshiping when the gunman killed Lori Kaye, 60, and wounded the synagogue’s rabbi, Yishoel Goldstein; eight-year-old Noya Dahan; and her uncle Almog Peretz.
FBI Special Agent in Charge Ryan Young briefs the media beside photos of a suspect arrested in connection with an alleged terror plot targetting Southern California sites