Three teenagers from three different states planned “mass murders” at Chicago mosques and synagogues all in the name of ISIS, the FBI alleges in newly-unsealed court documents.
The documents show images of evidence obtained by authorities surrounding the arrests of Maine 18-year-old Xavier Pelkey, and two unnamed juveniles, one from Chicago and another from Kentucky.
The filing states that Pelkey, of Waterville, and the two teens planned to meet up in Chicago during “spring break.” The trio communicated through Instagram and chat platforms, authorities allege.
According to the documents, the Chicago teenager allegedly told the FBI that the plan was to “enter the Shia mosque and separate the adults from the children, then murder the adults” all in the name of ISIS.
“If they had not encountered law enforcement at that point, they would continue on to another Shia mosque or Jewish synagogue and execute the same plan,” the FBI states in filing. “They did not have a plan to escape but rather their plan ended with them being shot by law enforcement.”
While conducting search warrants last month at the teens’ home in Chicago, the FBI said agents seized “multiple firearms, including a Remington pump shotgun, swords, knives, a bow and arrows, multiple homemade ISIS flags, and multiple electronic devices.”
Federal agents discovered three improvised devices in Pelkey’s backpack during a search of his Waterville apartment on Feb. 11, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court.
The devices were made of fireworks bundled together with staples, pins and thumb tacks to create shrapnel if detonated, an FBI agent wrote.
“It’s fair to say that based on the information that investigators received, that this was more than just talk,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Wolff said last month.
Pelkey is charged with possession of an unregistered destructive device, a felony that carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison. A federal magistrate judge this week ordered him held without bail.
His attorney, Christopher MacLean, didn’t immediately return a message at the time from The Associated Press.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations urged federal prosecutors to bring hate crimes charges in the case.
“This disturbing case highlights the real threat posed by anti-Muslim bigotry, antisemitism and other forms of hate,” Edward Ahmed Mitchell, CAIR’s deputy director, said in a statement.
Wolff declined to comment on whether more charges could be forthcoming.