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Santa Monica Pier Among Possible Targets in Thwarted Terrorist Plot, FBI Officials Say
By Jorge Casuso
April 29, 2019 -- The Santa Monica Pier was eyed as a possible target in a terrorist plot by a former U.S. Army infantryman that was thwarted by federal authorities, FBI officials announced Monday.
Mark Steven Domingo, 26, a Reseda resident who had combat experience in Afghanistan, said he "wanted to attack crowds at the Santa Monica Pier," authorities said.
Domingo, who is allegedly an ISIS sympathizer advocating for a violent jihad, faces federal charges in a terrorist plot to detonate a bomb, causing mass casualties, to revenge the mass shooting at a mosque in New Zealand on March 15.
"In short this is a case in which law enforcement was able to identify a man consumed with hate and bent on mass murder and stop him before he could carry out his attack," said Nick Hanna, U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California.
"Nevertheless, the criminal case outlines a chilling terrorism plot that developed over the past two months and targeted innocent Americans that he expected to gather this past weekend."
In online rants and conversations with an undercover source with the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force, Domingo mentioned a number of terrorist scenarios he was contemplating, agency officials said.
"At times, Mr. Domingo said he wanted to kill Jews as they walked to synagogue," Hanna said. "At other times he said he wanted to kill and target police officers, attack a military facility or attack crowds at the Santa Monica Pier."
Domingo also plotted to set off explosives on L.A. freeways and made threatening comments about harming LAPD officers, authorities said.
In the end, Domingo "decided to detonate an IED (improvised explosive device) at a rally scheduled to take place in Long Beach this past weekend,” according to the 30-page affidavit from the department of Justice.
“As part of the plot, Domingo asked his confederate -- who actually was cooperating with the FBI as part of the investigation -- to find a bomb-maker, and Domingo last week purchased several hundred nails to be used as shrapnel inside the IED."
He “specifically bought three-inch nails because they would be long enough to penetrate the human body and puncture internal organs,” according to the affidavit.
Domingo was arrested Friday night after an undercover agent delivered an inert explosive device the suspect thought was a live bomb.
Authorities recovered several guns, including a modified AK-47-style rifle, during the string operation.
Domingo was scheduled to appear Monday afternoon in Los Angeles Federal court.
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