June 23, 2015

Another illustration of why there should have been no surprise over the concerns about domestic terrorism. Were it not for Justin Nojan Sullivan's father, this man would have been the next Dylann Roof.

A criminal complaint was filed Monday in federal court, charging Justin Nojan Sullivan, 19, of Morganton with one count of attempting to provide material support to ISIL, one count of transporting and receiving a silencer in interstate commerce with intent to commit a felony and one count of receipt and possession of an unregistered silencer, unidentified by a serial number.

Sullivan was arrested Friday at his home without incident.

According to the complaint, around June 9, Sullivan discussed with an undercover employee the possibility of making homemade silencers and asked the employee whether he would be able to make one.

When the employee said that he thought he could, Sullivan told the employee, “I’ll need to have one built by next week.”

The complaint also said Sullivan planned to do minor assassinations before a big attack for training.

Federal agents said Sullivan was planning assassinations and violent attacks in the United States.

Investigators said he wanted to buy a high-powered rifle at the Hickory Gun Show this past weekend then kill several U.S. citizens on behalf of ISIS.

Don Denton who lives next door to Sullivan said he’s seen Sullivan playing a war game with a BB gun in his back yard.

“He'd have targets in different locations,” Denton said. “He'd run here and shoot one. He's run there and shoot the other.”

His father tipped off the FBI.

He certainly talked big, telling the undercover he might want to kill as many as 1,000 people, set off a big vehicle bomb or use chemical weapons, a criminal complaint says. He even talked about coating bullets with cyanide and robbing banks, the feds say.

But he apparently wasn't on investigators' radar until April, when his father called 911 to report that he was destroying Buddha figurines and had doused their religious objects with gasoline.

"We are scared to leave the house," the father told the operator, according to the court documents.

Sullivan could he heard in the background asking, "Why are you trying to say I'm a terrorist?"

Weeks later, an undercover operative made contact with Sullivan, who allegedly told him, "I liked IS from the beginning, then I started thinking about death and stuff so I became a Muslim."

The full complaint is here.

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