A Texas teenager could wind up in prison for the rest of his life if convicted of terrorism-related charges in a court of law. The suspect was allegedly inspired by ISIS to plan a mass shooting at a local shopping mall in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, multiple news outlets are reporting.
The suspect is a 17-year-old Plano West High School student, NBC DFW reported.
“Matin Azizi-Yarand was arrested on criminal solicitation of capital murder and making a terroristic threat, officials announced Wednesday. Azizi-Yarand, who lives with his parents, faces up to life in prison for criminal solicitation and up to 10 years in prison for making a terroristic threat. His bond has been set at $3 million.”
The teen allegedly planned to attack the Stonebriar Centre Mall in the city of Frisco sometime in mid-May, according to an FBI arrest affidavit. Apparently, the plot came to light because he allegedly discussed his intentions online with an FBI undercover source beginning in December. He also allegedly spent $1,400 on weapons and tactical equipment and also indicated that he was waiting for his 18th birthday so he could buy a rifle for himself. According to authorities, Matin Azizi-Yarand had cased the layout of the mall, as well as the movement of customers and security, in preparation for an alleged attack.
Azizi-Yarand supposedly authored a “Message to America” manifesto in advance to explain the reasoning behind the terrorist attack when it occurred.
The suspect allegedly met the FBI undercover agent in person in April during which they visited the mall and that the need for more weapons was discussed, CBS DFW reported. The news outlet also claims that the suspect hoped to travel to Afghanistan to join up with ISIS.
The suspect may have initially considered attacking a school or a Hindu temple before targeting the Stonebriar Centre mall in Frisco.
“The attack was planned to happen during Ramadan to limit the number of Muslim casualties, the teen told the source,” the Dallas Morning News reported.
“Azizi-Yarand had reportedly also been reviewing a guide to making pipe bombs which was authored by Eric Harris, one of the attackers in the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School,” CBS DFW noted.
The FBI North Texas Joint Terrorism Task Force along with Frisco and Plano police officers handled the investigation that averted an alleged mass shooting plot. The suspect will be prosecuted by the Collin County District Attorney’s office.
As the alleged lone wolf mass shooting plot that was prevented at the Stonebriar Centre Mall in Frisco, Texas, is just breaking, please check back for updates.