A jihadi teen in Plano, Texas received 20 years in prison for planning an ISIS-inspired shooting attack at a Texas shopping mall. Matin Azizi-Yarand, who was 17 at the time of his arrest, planned to storm the Stonebriar Center in Frisco with firearms, taking down as many civilians and police officers as possible.
Azizi-Yarand, now 18, pleaded guilty to charges of solicitation of capital murder and making terrorist threats. He initially reached out online for help with the plot and eventually ended up talking to an undercover FBI agent, to whom he sent over $1,400 to purchase weapons and tactical gear.
According to court records, in one conversation, Azizi-Yarand said, “I’d actually like to make a cop surrender and drop his gun, then douse him with gasoline and burn him.” He conducted surveillance on the mall and planned the attack for May 2018 during the Muslim month of Ramadan, reasoning that Muslims wouldn’t be at the mall during the holiday.
Meanwhile in Maryland, police arrested a 28-year-old man whom they charge was planning an ISIS-inspired ramming attack of pedestrians at a popular tourist and convention venue. Rondell Henry quit his job in the middle of the day on March 26, 2019, and stole a U-Haul truck from a parking garage of a mall in Virginia.
“I was just going to keep driving and driving and driving. I wasn’t going to stop,” Henry allegedly said to law enforcement authorities.
Henry wanted to imitate the ramming attack in Nice, France in which 84 people were killed at a Bastille Day celebration in July, 2016, according to investigators.
In the government’s detention motion, Henry — who worked as computer engineer for Hughes Network Systems, a broadband satellite company — was described as hating “disbelievers.” On his phone, which Henry threw out of his car, investigators found images of ISIS’ flag, armed ISIS fighters and pictures of Omar Mateen, who carried out a jihadi massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida in 2016.
Henry first tried to breach the security perimeter at Dulles International Airport to carry out the attack there. After two hours in which he was unsuccessful, he turned his sights to the National Harbor, a popular complex of restaurants, shops and hotels on the waterfront in Maryland.
Seeing there were insufficient crowds, he broke into a boat and hid there overnight. Henry was arrested when police saw him leap over a security fence from the deck of the boat in the morning.
Henry is originally from Trinidad and Tobago and is a naturalized American citizen.
In Louisiana, police are investigating three fires that consumed three historically black churches. The fires occurred in a 10-day span. Although details of the perpetrator(s) are unknown at this time, investigators told CNN it appears the fires were set intentionally.
“At first we thought it might have been an electrical problem, but then when the second church…burning occurred, I realized it was our sister church…Then two days later, the third occurred so at least (to) me, (it) made me think that we’re being targeted,” said Pastor Freddie Jack, president of the Seventh District Missionary Baptist Association.
The churches were all located in St. Landry Parish. The first one was set on March 26, followed one on April 2 and finally April 4. A number of pastors in the area are now sleeping in their churches to prevent further fires.