A federal jury on Wednesday convicted a U.S. Army veteran who had expressed support for violent jihad for attempting to bomb a 2019 rally in Long Beach, California, as retribution for attacks against Muslims around the world.
Mark Steven Domingo, 28, of Reseda, was found guilty of providing material support to terrorism and attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction. He faces a statutory maximum sentence of life in federal prison and is scheduled to be sentenced on November 1.
Domingo has been in federal custody since his arrest in April 2019, when, according to federal authorities, he “received what he thought were two live bombs, but were actually inert explosive devices delivered by an undercover law enforcement officer.”
Update: Domingo has been convicted of providing material support to terrorism and attempting to use of a weapon of mass destruction. Faces max sentence of life in prison. Sentencing set for Nov 1. @KNX1070 https://t.co/Yvc609rXz9
— Claudia Peschiutta (@ReporterClaudia) August 12, 2021
He provided hundreds of 3 ½-inch nails to be used as shrapnel to the undercover officer posing as a bomb-maker.
“Domingo specifically chose those nails because they were long enough to penetrate organs in the human body,” authorities said.
According to the Department of Justice, Domingo had “called for another event similar to the October 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas” when 58 people died and almost 500 others were injured. He reportedly hoped a similar massacre would “kick off civil unrest,” writing online, “It’s not about winning the civil war its about weakening America and giving them a taste of the terror they gladly spread all over the world.”
The Los Angeles Times reported:
The rally that Domingo targeted was called the United Patriots National Front and was set to take place in Bluff Park.
But members of the group, which local activists have described as affiliated with white nationalism, did not show up. Instead, about 200 counter-protesters populated the park, but there were no arrests or injuries.
Domingo’s “back-up plan” was to target a demonstration against California’s so-called sanctuary state law, which took place in Huntington Beach.
After federal authorities saw Domingo’s extremist comments online, an informant made contact with him. During a drive on March 18, Domingo pointed out possible targets, including “police cars, churches and a National Guard Armory,” to the person he believed to be his co-conspirator, FBI Special Agent Tasha Coolidge said.
The veteran said he didn’t plan on getting away: “Martyrdom, bro.”
Prosecutors argued Domingo sought revenge for attacks on New Zealand mosques in March 2019, the month before the Long Beach rally, and was willing to die for the cause.
However, according to court records, he said he would attack the Port of Long Beach if he survived. Court documents indicate Domingo also considered blowing up the world-famous Santa Monica Pier.
Domingo told FBI agents that he joined the military to “slaughter” Muslims, but became bored while serving in Afghanistan, where he said he was “getting shot at and not being allowed to shoot back.”
According to the Long Beach Post, “The Army soon kicked out Domingo when his fellow soldiers found their names written on his rifle’s bullets and grenades used at their base.”
He reportedly converted to Islam in 2019. Then his online posts caught the attention of law enforcement.
Following an investigation by the #JTTF in LA, federal & local officials announced charges unsealed today against Mark Steven Domingo who is alleged to have targeted a protest with an IED. If you have info about the charges, call us at 3104776565 #Thwarted https://t.co/Pv6IVuB71I pic.twitter.com/qe6cYL0wr5
— FBI Los Angeles (@FBILosAngeles) April 30, 2019
The investigation was conducted by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), which includes participating state, local, and federal agencies. The FBI, Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Long Beach Police Department, and Naval Criminal Investigative Service participated in the probe.