L.A. terror plot thwarted: Army vet planned ‘mass casualties,’ FBI says

A Reseda man planned to detonate improvised explosive devices at several Southern California locations to cause “mass casualties” in a terror plot thwarted by law enforcement officials, authorities said Monday.
Mark Steven Domingo, 26, an Army veteran, was arrested Friday night after he took delivery of what he thought was a live bomb from an undercover law enforcement officer posing as a bomb-maker, officials said. He was charged with attempting to provide material support to terrorists.

According to a federal affidavit, “after considering various attacks — including targeting Jews, churches, and police officers — Domingo decided to detonate an IED at a rally scheduled to take place in Long Beach this past weekend. 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.
“Domingo said he specifically bought three-inch nails because they would be long enough to penetrate the human body and puncture internal organs,” the affidavit states.

John C. Demers, the assistant attorney general for the Justice Department national security division, said Domingo wanted to use improvised explosive devices that “would make the bombs even more deadly to the victims he targeted.”
“His arrest today mitigates the threat he posed to others in the Los Angeles community,” Demers said.
Prosecutors said Domingo sought retribution for the attacks on New Zealand mosques and said he was willing to become a martyr.

“There must be retribution,” he said in an online post, according to the federal criminal complaint. He also allegedly expressed allegiance to Islamic State.
“America needs another vegas event …[to] give them a taste of the terror they gladly spread all over the world,” Domingo allegedly wrote in reference to the massacre at the Route 91 concert in October 2017.
FBI Special Agent Tasha Coolidge described Domingo’s plans in a 30-page affidavit.

After federal authorities saw his extremist comments online, an informant made contact with him. During a drive on March 18, Domingo pointed out possible targets, including “police cars, churches and a National Guard Armory” to the person he believed to be his co-conspirator, Coolidge said.
The veteran said he didn’t plan on getting away: “Martyrdom, bro.

U.S. Atty. Nicola T. Hanna speaks at a news conference in downtown L.A. announcing the arrest of Mark Steven Domingo. (Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)
Domingo talked about using guns to conduct an attack, but the confidential informant suggested he knew someone who could make IEDS. “That is even better,” Domingo said, according to court records

In a subsequent meeting, Domingo used the Arabic word for “nonbelievers” and said they were to blame for starting it, but “I am gonna finish it.”
“Murder me. Kill me. I’ll die Shadid,” he declared, according to the affidavit. The Arabic word means “strong or powerful, and brave.”
Court records went on to detail an April 3 meeting, in which Domingo proposed killing police officers and military service personnel in Los Angeles. He said he wanted a large-scale attack, something like “an IED here, on the freeway.”
“Make ’em bleed, like in Ramadi,” he said, referencing the bloody battleground city in the Iraq war. Domingo said the attack would be revenge for “our brothers in Christchurch and our sisters who were slaughtered,” the documents read.
On April 19, the Army veteran’s talk escalated, and he arrived at a meeting wearing camouflage pants and holding a backpack with an AK-47-style rifle, according to the affidavit. He said he was prepared to commit “jihad.”
After talk about a drive-by shooting using the assault rifle, officials said he ended up planning to target rallies in Long Beach and Huntington Beach. Worried those events might be canceled, he also considered blowing up the Santa Monica Pier as it would be “crowded,” documents show.
When the informant told Domingo the Long Beach rally would happen, he proceeded with a plan to plant IEDs there, according to the affidavit. At that point, an undercover investigator joined the supposed plot as a bomb-maker.
On Friday, the informant and undercover investigator gave Domingo what he thought were active bombs, and they drove to Bluff Park to scope out the location for the attack. Domingo said if he survived the bombing, he also planned to attack the Port of Long Beach to disrupt the U.S. economy, records show.
Friday night, after the trio left the park and Domingo carried the IEDs to his car, FBI agents arrested him.
The terror plot was uncovered less than 48 hours after a gunman opened fire inside a San Diego County synagogue, killing one woman and wounding several others in what law enforcement officials are investigating as an anti-Semitic hate crime.

Mark Steven Domingo was arrested Friday after he took delivery of what he thought was a live bomb, authorities said. (FBI)
Southern California has been the scene of several terrorism plots and attacks, including one by a prison-based group that targeted the U.S. government and supporters of Israel.
In 2005, Kevin James founded Jam’iyyat Ul-Islam Is-Saheeh, or JIS, inside a California prison and led a conspiracy to attack Los Angeles International Airport, several Army recruiting centers and the Israeli Consulate in L.A. The group planned to stage attacks on political targets with the proceeds of gas station robberies, investigators said. Authorities said they learned of the potential plot when Torrance police investigating the robberies found lists of targets and other information at one suspect’s apartment in South Los Angeles.
Three years before that, a gunman killed two people at the busy LAX ticket counter of El Al Israel Airlines.
And in 2015, Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, entered a holiday gathering for county employees at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino and, using rifles purchased by a friend, killed 14 people and injured 22 others.
Authorities said that Farook and a friend had plotted additional terror attacks targeting students at a nearby community college and drivers on the 91 Freeway.
Source: Los Angeles Times

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