TOLEDO, Ohio (CN) – Federal prosecutors charged an Ohio man with planning a mass shooting in a Jewish synagogue in Toledo, and also said Monday that a woman faces charges for buying explosives for another suspected terror plot.
Damon Joseph, 21, of Holland, Ohio, was arrested Friday evening after authorities took possession of two AR-15 rifles. They say he was planning an Islamic State-inspired terror attack on a Toledo-area synagogue.
“The charges describe a calculated man fueled by an ideology of hatred and intent on killing innocent people. The FBI, our police and Justice Department employees are to be credited for working to stop the defendant before he could act,” Justin Herdman, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, said in prepared remarks.
Joseph came to the attention of law enforcement when he allegedly posted images of knives and firearms on social media and a photo that prosecutors have traced back to the Islamic State terrorist group, also called ISIS.
Joseph had said he wanted to kill a rabbi and that he was weighing an attack on two synagogues, depending on which one had the most worshipers, prosecutors allege.
“Go big or go home,” Joseph told an undercover agent, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.
Prosecutors charged him with one count of attempting to provide material support to ISIS. They declined to name the synagogues that Joseph allegedly targeted. Joseph’s attorney Neil McElroy could not immediately be reached for comment.
In an unrelated case also announced Monday, federal prosecutors said they charged 23-year-old Elizabeth Lecron of Toledo with buying explosive materials, including black powder and 665 nails, for a suspected terror attack. She faces charges of transporting explosives and explosive material for the purpose of harming others and property.
“Through her words and actions, she demonstrated that she was committed to seeing death and destruction in order to advance hate. This case demonstrates terrorism comes in many guises and we will remain vigilant to protect all Americans,” U.S. Attorney Herdman said.
Lecron allegedly posted photos and comments on social media that glorified the 1999 Columbine High School massacre. She also expressed admiration for Dylann Roof, who murdered nine people at a South Carolina church in 2015.
She even visited Columbine and made contact with Roof, according to prosecutors.
Lecron stated that she wanted to attack an upscale bar and then later a farm that raised pigs and cows, authorities allege. She later turned her attention to her place of work and said she would target it for polluting a river, according to prosecutors.
She also allegedly talked to an undercover agent about bombing a pipeline, and on Dec. 8 went to a retail store and bought Hodgson Triple Seven Muzzleloading Propellant and 665 screws from another store in Perrysburg.
Lecron was expected to appear in a Toledo federal court at 3:30 p.m., according to U.S. attorney’s office spokesman Michael Tobin.