MILWAUKEE, Jan. 27 (UPI) — The FBI has arrested and charged a Milwaukee man accused of planning a mass shooting at a Masonic temple where he sought to “eliminate everyone.”
Samy Mohamed Hamzeh, 23, who was under investigation since September, was arrested on Monday and charged with possessing machine guns and a silencer.
The Department of Justice details that in October, Hamzeh wished to travel to the West Bank to conduct an attack on residents and Israeli soldiers — plans he later abandoned to allegedly focus on an attack in the United States.
Hamzeh then began “extensive conversations with two confidential sources.”
“During those recorded conversations, Hamzeh explained that he wanted to commit a domestic act of violence and, earlier this month, he settled on a Masonic temple in Milwaukee as his target,” the Justice Department said in a statement.
On Jan. 19, Hamzeh and the confidential sources took a guided tour of the Humphrey Scottish Rite Masonic Center, which has an auditorium that can seat about 350 people. Afterward, Hamzeh allegedly told who he thought were his co-conspirators that the attack on the temple should continue — further describing the planned massacre in detail.
“We want two machine guns, you now have one, so we want two more, and we need three silencers, that’s it. Find out how much all together these will cost, and then we will march,” Hamzeh told the FBI sources in Arabic, conversations which were later translated.
“The operation will be 100 percent successful. I am telling you, to go without silencer gun, you will be exposed from the beginning,” Hamzeh said. “We will eliminate everyone.
“I am telling you, if this hit is executed, it will be known all over the world,” Hamzeh said. “Sure, all over the world, all the mujahedeen will be talking and they will be proud of us … such operations will increase in America, when they hear about it … this will lead to people clashing with each other. This way we will be igniting it. I mean we are marching at the front of the war.
“Thirty is excellent. If I got out, after killing 30 people, I will be happy percent … 100 percent happy because these 30 will terrify the world,” Hamzeh said.
On Monday, Hamzeh and the FBI sources met with two undercover FBI agents in order to allegedly buy the machine guns and silencers. Hamzeh bought the two weapons and a silencer after settling on a price.
He was arrested and charged with illegally possessing machine guns after he placed the bag carrying the weapons in the trunk of his car.
“Samy Mohamed Hamzeh devised a detailed plan to commit a mass shooting intended to kill dozens of people,” Acting U.S. Attorney Gregory J. Haanstad said in a statement. “He also said that he wanted this mass shooting to be ‘known the world over’ and to ‘ignite’ broader clashes. It is difficult to calculate the injury and loss of life that was prevented by concerned citizens coming forward and by the tireless efforts of the FBI and the Joint Terrorism Task Force.”