An Ohio man who planned an attack on a local synagogue was inspired by this year’s October mass shooting in a Pittsburgh synagogue, authorities say.
Damon Joseph, 21, planned mass murder in a Toledo synagogue, FBI officials said during a Monday press conference. Though Joseph allegedly supported ISIS, authorities said he was inspired by the alleged work of a white supremacist in the Pittsburgh attack. Joseph is charged with providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization.
Joseph pledged loyalty to ISIS in September after a swift online radicalization and religious conversion this year, authorities say. At the time, Joseph was allegedly producing online videos he hoped would “encourage” other radicals in the West, but he soon moved on to planning his own attacks. He allegedly told an undercover FBI agent that he hated "the gays, the Christians, the Catholics, the Jews, you name it.”
After the murder of 11 worshippers at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue allegedly by Robert Bowers, Joseph allegedly claimed that Jewish people “are evil and they got what was coming to them.”
By November, he allegedly told an undercover agent that he wanted to carry out a mass shooting. Last week, he allegedly gave the undercover agent an attack plan to be carried out against two Toledo synagogues.
“Joseph expressed his desire to kill a rabbi,” an FBI agent said during the Monday press conference. Prior to the planning process, Joseph did not have any weapons, and allegedly told the undercover agent that he could not buy guns due to a past violent criminal charge.
“On December 7, Joseph agreed to take possession of two rifles that Joseph believed the undercover employee had purchased for the attack at Joseph’s direction,” the FBI agent stated. “He was arrested after taking possession of the weapons” on Friday.
Joseph’s arrest was the second announced during the same Ohio press conference. The other arrest was a woman who allegedly planned a terror attack in Toledo. Like Joseph, she was allegedly inspired by a previous white supremacist who murdered worshippers. In the latter case, the would-be terrorist was inspired by Dylann Roof, the racist who killed nine people at an African-American church in 2015.