A Boston police captain’s son was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Wednesday for plotting a terrorist attack for the Islamic State (ISIS) with firearms and homemade bombs on an unidentified university in New Mexico.
The terrorist, who gave himself an Arabic name that translates to “Ali the American,” pleaded guilty in May to terrorism charges, including attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization and attempting to use weapons of mass destruction, ABC News reports.
Authorities describe the thwarted terrorist as a “committed soldier” of ISIS who wished to inflict “maximum damage.”
In a statement, Hank Shaw, the special agent in charge of the Boston FBI office, stressed that the terrorist “was a committed soldier of ISIS who wanted to kill innocent people at a United States university with assault rifles and pressure cooker bombs, not an unwitting dupe who didn’t understand the gravity of what he was doing.”
The man was contacted by undercover FBI agents after his father, Cpt. Robert Ciccolo, alerted authorities about his son’s desire to fight for ISIS in Syria.
Undercover FBI agents then contacted the suspect, who discussed plots to attack several targets in New Mexico, including a university, a police station, and a gay-friendly bar. He was arrested on July 4, 2015, after accepting two rifles and two handguns from the undercover agents.
In his apartment, police reportedly discovered Molotov cocktails, two machetes, and a long curved knife. He also had purchased a pressure cooker for the plot.
While being processed into the Franklin County Correctional Facility after being arrested, the terrorist also stabbed a nurse on the head with a pen.
“The Nurse immediately ran from the room clutching her head and screaming and crying in pain,” prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memorandum last week, according to the Boston Globe.
Prosecutors also claimed he posted a photo of one of the Boston Marathon Bombers prior to his arrest, encouraging him to “KEEP THE HOPE.” In April, he also reportedly said, “We’re at the point where Muslims are justified in using violence, yeah I do agree with that.”
The terrorist’s lawyers claim he dealt with mental health and substance abuse issues.
Prosecutors gave credit to Capt. Ciccolo who “likely saved the lives of numerous innocent people.”
Capt. Ciccolo started to have concerns about his son after he heard him talk about traveling to Syria to fight for ISIS. The captain calls his decision to alert the FBI “heartbreaking,” but says he “understood that he could be preventing harm to innocent people.”
“I’m a cop. You can’t tell me you are going to commit crimes and expect me to take no action to prevent it,” Capt. Ciccolo said.