He planned the attack to coincide with Ramadan – the month of jihad.
A suburban Dallas teenager has pleaded guilty to plotting an Islamic State group-inspired mass shooting at a North Texas mall.
A state judge sentenced Matin Azizi-Yarand to 20 years in prison Monday for solicitation of capital murder and making a terroristic threat, state and federal prosecutors announced. The 18-year-old is eligible for parole after serving 10 years.
Azizi-Yarand was arrested last May for plotting to shoot civilians and police at a Frisco mall in a rampage authorities said he was timing to coincide with Ramadan. IS has called on its supporters to carry out attacks during the Muslim holy month.
The then-high school student had been recruiting others to participate in the shooting and planned to explain it with the release of a “Message to America,” according to prosecutors. He spent more than $1,400 buying weapons and tactical gear, and had been conducting surveillance of the mall.
Azizi-Yarand believes his plea agreement is a “fair deal” and is ready to begin his prison term, his lawyer, Mitch Nolte, told The Associated Press.
Azizi-Yarand was indicted in July , but his age presented a challenge for prosecutors.
Terrorism cases are typically brought in federal court. But because Azizi-Yarand was 17 at the time of the crime and a minor under federal law, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Texas was limited in the charges they could bring against him.
It’s “extremely rare” for someone to be prosecuted for terrorism charges state court, U.S. Attorney Joseph Brown said Monday at a press conference.
A Texas teen has learned his fate after pleading guilty to plotting an ISIS-inspired mass shooting at a mall north of Dallas.
18-year-old Matin Azizi-Yarand was sentenced to 20-years in prison Monday for solicitation of capital murder and making a terroristic threat.
Authorities said he planned to launch the attack last May during Ramadan, and tried to recruit people to help him. He also spent over $1,400 on tactical gear and weapons.
He was arrested last year after telling an undercover FBI agent about his plot online.
“This was no distant dream for this young man. This was a well planned out, well developed, imminent plan, and if it was not for the involvement and hard work of federal and state law enforcement officers, this could have been a much, much worse result.”
— Joe Brown, attorney – Eastern District of Texas
As noted in our previous post on the young jihadis arrest: Texas: Muslim student arrested in plot to ‘kill the kuffar’ in Frisco mall attack
The affidavit quotes him telling the source over Internet messages: ‘Look at all the other lone wolves. What training did they have yet they simply killed the kuffar? [disbelievers in Arabic]’
The ‘New York brother’ Azizi-Yarand referred to was most likely Sayfullo Saipov, 29, who killed eight people after driving a rental lorry down a bike path in October.
He then added: ‘But I swear I want to achieve Allah’s pleasure and kill the kuffar… I’ve only been reading ISIS magazine guides for performing operations and making bombs.
The student said he was struggling to decide whether to join ISIS or perform a terror-attack on American soil, before deciding on the latter and asking if the informer wanted to join him.
He stated: ‘We can still [travel to join ISIS] no problem, but then we are just like the rest,’ before adding that he had decided on a terror attack and had been going to the gym for physical preparation.
In further messages, Azizi-Yarand discussed ambushing a Hindu temple and even a school because ‘it is the perfect place for an attack – just fire where you hear screams’.
After deciding on Stonebriar Centre mall, he sent the informant a link to his ‘Message to America’, a rambling speech in which he accused the US government of bringing terror attacks upon yourselves’ by ‘bombing Muslims.