TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — Federal authorities said they've charged two people involved in planning separate large-scale attacks — one who wanted to carry out a shooting at a synagogue and another who had been plotting a bar shooting and blowing up a pipeline.
While the alleged attacks were in the planning stages, there was never an immediate threat to the public, the FBI and Department of Justice said Monday in a news conference announcing the charges.
Both suspects, who are from the Toledo area, had identified specific places they wanted to target, authorities said.
The two have been under investigation for months and had talked about their plans with undercover FBI agents, according to the Justice Department.
"These cases demonstrate terrorism comes in many forms," said Justin Herdman, the U.S. attorney for northern Ohio.
One involved Damon Joseph, 21, of Holland, a Toledo suburb, who spent months posting photos of weapons, praising ISIS, and talking about carrying out a violent attack before he eventually settled on targeting a synagogue in the Toledo area, Herdman said.
His plans for a synagogue shooting came together after a gunman killed 11 people in a Pittsburgh synagogue in October, Herdman said. Authorities said he told an undercover agent that "I admire what the guy did with the shooting actually."
He wanted to kill as many people as possible, including a rabbi, and make sure no one escaped, the DOJ said.
Joseph said his decision on which synagogue to attack would come down to "which one will have the most people, what time and what day. Go big or go home," according to court documents.
Joseph was arrested Friday after he received two AR-15 rifles from an undercover agent and was charged with attempting to provide material support to ISIS.
There was no telephone listing for Joseph and court records did not indicate whether he has an attorney.
FBI Acting Special Agent in Charge Jeff Fortunato said it did not appear Joseph was working with anyone else.
Within months, Joseph became radicalized and began planning an attack, Fortunato said.
Court records show that Joseph was charged with domestic violence nearly two years ago and later entered an Alford plea, which acknowledges prosecutors have enough evidence to convict without admitting guilt.
Authorities also arrested Elizabeth Lecron, 23, of Toledo, Monday after they said she bought bomb-making materials. She was charged with transporting explosives and explosive material with the purpose of harming others.
A telephone listing for Lecron could not be located and court records did not indicate whether she has an attorney.
Lecron had been talking about carrying out several different types of violent attacks, including telling undercover agents in August that she and an associate had come up with a plan to commit a mass killing at a Toledo bar, officials said.
She also discussed attacking a livestock farm, her workplace, and bombing a pipeline, according to authorities, who also said Lecron told agents she was making a pipe bomb.
Authorities said Lecron wrote letters and sent Nazi propaganda to Dylann Roof, the white man who killed nine black parishioners in a Charleston, S.C., church in 2015.