A 23-year-old Milwaukee man is accused of plotting a mass shooting at Masonic temple in Wisconsin. The FBI announced on January 26 that Samy Hamzeh had been arrested on weapons charges. According to the Feds, his original plan was to organize an attack on the West Bank, a plan he later abandoned due to “logistical and financial” issues. He was arrested on January 25 after undercover agents sold Hamzeh guns with silencers.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. His Original Plan Was to Attack Israeli Soldiers in the West Bank
In a press release, the FBI said that Hamzeh had been plotting to attack Israeli soldiers in the West Bank. He had made plans to travel to Jordan and enter the West Bank to carry out his plan.
2. He Works as a Personal Trainer in Milwaukee
According to his Facebook page, Hamzeh is a fitness trainer at 9Round gym in downtown Milwaukee. He says on that page that’s a native of Miami. One of the photos on his Facebook page is filtered with the flag of Palestine over it. His last visible update on the page came on January 21, under it, a man named Mohammed Hamzeh wrote in Arabic, “Sammy the dog and I got you.” In the About section of his page, Samy Hamzeh says that he graduated from Milwaukee Area Technical College though he lists himself as being part of the class of 2000 when he was only eight years old.
3. He Allegedly Said in Recorded Conversations That He Would Be Happy to Kill 30 People in His Attack
The FBI said that they have voice recordings of Hamzeh talking about his plans to attack a Masonic temple in Milwaukee. According to the criminal complaint, Hamzeh said:
They are all Masonic; they are playing with the world like a game, man, and we are like asses, we don’t know what is going on, these are the ones who are fighting, these are the ones that needs to be killed, not the Shi’iat, because these are the ones who are against us, these are the ones who are making living for us like hell.
Thirty is excellent. If I got out, after killing thirty people, I will be happy 100%… 100% happy, because these 30 will terrify the world.
4. The FBI Haven’t Said if Hamzeh Is Affiliated With Any Terrorist Group
He has been under surveillance from the FBI since September 2015. It was in that month when Hamzeh brought two undercover FBI agents to a shooting range where he demonstrated his skills. The FBI did not say if Hamzeh had pledged allegiance to a specific terrorist organization.
5. The Special Agent in Charge Said That ‘At No Point Was the Public’s Safety in Jeopardy’
Hamzeh devised a detailed plan to commit a mass shooting intended to kill dozens of people. He also said that he wanted this mass shooting to be ‘known the world over’ and to ‘ignite’ broader clashes. It is difficult to calculate the injury and loss of life that was prevented by concerned citizens coming forward and by the tireless efforts of the FBI and the Joint Terrorism Task Force.
Meanwhile, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Robert J. Shields said:
The arrest of Samy Mohamed Hamzeh is the result of a well-coordinated undercover law enforcement action, at no time was the public’s safety placed in jeopardy.
I would like to commend the efforts of the Joint Terrorism Task Force which includes our local and state law enforcement partners in thwarting an attack that could have resulted in significant injury and /or loss of life.