Authorities have arrested a 69-year-old Jacksonville, Florida man who they say was planning a mass shooting at an Islamic center. Bernandino Gawala “Nandie” Bolatete is now facing charges of knowingly receiving and possessing a silencer without registering it as required by federal law, according to the authorities.
At a press conference on Monday, Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams said Bolatete, “had expressed a strong anti-Islamic sentiment” and “had the weaponry to carry out the attack.”
Police say the suspect’s plan to “shoot up” a mosque by firing on congregants from the Islamic Center’s tower was thwarted after a tipster notified the authorities.
That’s when an undercover officer got in contact with Bolatete and federal and state investigators were notified, Williams said.
Bolatete and the undercover officer went to shooting ranges together several times during the investigation, a criminal complaint says.
Bolatete expressed hatred for Muslims during those meetings and made threats to shoot up the mosque several times, officials say.
During one meeting, Bolatete told the officer that he used to be a “range master” and said that he knew how to go up into the tower at the mosque in Jacksonville. He also told them he had five rifles, including an AR-15 that could be converted into an AR-47.
Bolatete told an undercover police he wanted to carry out the attack on a Muslim holy day and then die through “suicide by cop,” according to Heavy.com.
“So we’ll try … we will try a Christian doing uh terroristic act this time to the Muslims,” he told an undercover officer. “They doing it all the time.”
Bolatete told the officer, “I just want to give these freaking people a taste of their own medicine, you know? They are the ones who are always doing these shootings, the killings,” according to the criminal complaint.
The suspect also told the officer that he had to “bring my long guns there and uh, stay at that, uh tower,” and added that he would go on a Friday, which he said is for Muslims like Sundays are for Christians, “Keep shooting those Muslims, you know, on Friday.”
He shared anti-Muslim conspiracy theories and articles on his Facebook page, including one in 2015 from the right wing website Conservative Tribune, titled “Evil: Radical Muslims Rape, Make Woman Quote Quran, But How They ‘Finish Her Off’ Is the Worst,” with the caption adding, “This is sheer evil.”
On another photo, a friend asked him in Tagalog, “ready to meet with the terrorists? lol.” He replied, “the only one to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”
His Facebook page is littered with photos of handguns and ARs.
If this plot was hatched by a Muslim, Donald Trump would be all up in this story, but the plan was created by a Christian extremist so he hasn’t said a word about it.
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