A Texas teenager got busted at his high school Tuesday for allegedly planning an Islamic State-inspired mass shooting at a suburban mall.
Matin Azizi-Yarand was arrested at Plano West Senior High School and charged with criminal solicitation and making a terroristic threat, according to KXAS-5 in Fort Worth. He will be tried as an adult and faces life in prison.
Azizi-Yarand had been planning an attack for months and spoke with an undercover FBI source and two informants starting in December 2017, according to an arrest affidavit.
They talked about possible targets they could hit, like a school or a Hindu temple, before finally settling on the Stonebriar Centre mall in Frisco.
"Look at all the other lone wolves. What training did they have yet they simply killed the kuffar?" Azizi-Yarand said in their discussions, using an Arabic word for unbelievers, according to the affidavit.
He added, "It’s not about numbers it’s about getting a message across to these taghut countries," using an Arabic term for tyrannical rule.
By the time Azizi-Yarand was arrested, he had sent more than $1,400 to an informant to purchase weapons and tactical gear. He also sent a manifesto by Eric Harris, one of the shooters in the 1999 Columbine High School shooting, according to the affidavit.
“I’ve only been reading ISIS magazine guides for performing operations and making bombs,” he said to the FBI informant, according to the affidavit.
Azizi-Yarand said he was inspired by the Islamic State to carry out the attack. He wanted to do it in mid-May, after Ramadan started, so that Muslim casualties would be low. He said he picked targets where response time would be slow.
He told his sources that he visited the mall numerous times and was watching patterns and security. He said he only noticed one cop, and that they might have to take out the cop first.
During one conversation, he allegedly wrote, "I'd actually like to make a cop surrender and drop his gun // Then douse him with gasoline and burn him // record it."
He also talked about burning down the stores. At one point he asked, "how hard can it be to spray down a big crowd of people," according to the affidavit.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Texas said although Azizi-Yarand is only 17, Texas considers him an adult, so he’ll be prosecuted on the state level.
"We determined that the recourse we had under federal juvenile procedure was inadequate to deal with the seriousness of this offense,” U.S. Attorney Joseph D. Brown told KXAS-5. “Federal law limits our ability to certify a juvenile as an adult for prosecution, and in light of that, we determined that state prosecution of the subject will best address the case.”
[Photo: Collin County Sheriff's Office]