The FBI said Monday it arrested a man in Jacksonville, Florida who was allegedly planning a mass shooting at a mosque. Bernandino Bolatete has been charged with illegally receiving and possessing an unregistered silencer.
Law enforcement said they began investigating Bolatete last week after a concerned citizen reported to police that he had expressed hatred for Muslims and threatened to “shoot up” a mosque, according to a criminal complaint. Police said at a press conference Monday that Bolatete said five rifles, including at least one AR-15. On Facebook, Bolatete posted a fake article accusing Muslims of raping a woman and forcing her to recite the Quran.
Bolatete allegedly told an undercover officer that he planned to climb up the tower of the Islamic Center of Northeast Florida and open fire on its congregants.
“So we’ll try… we will try a Christian doing uh terroristic act this time to the Muslims,” he told the officer, according to the complaint. “They doing it all the time.”
He told the officer he was willing to die during attack, calling it “suicide by cops.”
Bolatete allegedly told the officer he already had a suppressor that wasn’t very “quiet” and that he was looking to buy a new silencer for his rifle because he “might need it,” but did not want to leave a paper trail. Bolatete was quoted as saying he wanted to attach it to his “pistolized AR,” which was also unregistered.
“Altho the suppressor is not really that ‘quiet’ but it can be used on the 4th of July or New Year time, it can easily blend with the sound of fireworks,” he texted the officer. “I think that's the right time you can hit that asshole that you have there.”
Bolatete told the officer he was concerned about an upcoming doctor appointment for his kidney, which was only 31 percent functioning. Bolatete said he lost his other kidney kidney years ago when he was accidentally shot in the back at a shooting range in the Philippines.
On Facebook, Bolatete called himself a “shooting sport enthusiast” and posted photos of himself holding semi-automatic weapons. He also shared an anti-Muslim article entitled: “EVIL: Radical Muslims Rape, Make Woman Quote Quran, But How They ‘Finish Her Off’ Is the Worst.” The story was aggregated from “Red Flag News,” a right wing website accused of publishing debunked or dubious articles.