Mark Domingo, a San Fernando Valley former combat veteran who allegedly expressed support for ISIS, is accused of plotting terror attacks in Los Angeles, and he allegedly considered targets including Jews, military facilities, a Nazi rally in Long Beach, and police officers.
He also allegedly considered such targets as the Santa Monica pier and freeways in Southern California. Authorities allege that Domingo purchased three-inch nails so they would pierce human organs when exploded in a bomb. At one point, he even contemplated killing his neighbor, the complaint says, to test police response time. “Make ’em bleed,” he’s accused of saying.
Domingo, authorities say, was driven by a desire to avenge the deaths of Muslims by an active shooter at mosques in New Zealand. You can read the complaint in full here:
He’s accused of writing in one rambling online message, “I feel like I should make a christians life miserable tomorrow for our fallen bros n sis in [N]ew Zealand…maybe a jews life…they shed our blood…no Muslim should have to experience this, a message needs to be sent.”
He’s also accused of saying at one point, “Martyrdom, bro.”
The U.S. Attorney’s office in Los Angeles, California announced on April 29, 2019 that Mark Steven Domino, 26, was arrested Friday night “after he received what he thought was a live bomb, but in fact was an inert explosive device that was delivered by an undercover law enforcement officer as part of an investigation by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.”
“I can tell you, unequivocally, that this partnership, coupled with our ability to be nimble, ultimately resulted in dozens of innocent lives being saved in Southern California,” said Los Angeles Police Chief Michel R. Moore.
If convicted of the charge of providing and attempting to provide material support to terrorists, Domingo “would face a statutory maximum sentence of 15 years in federal prison,” the U.S. Attorney’s press release says.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Mark Domingo Is a Former U.S. Army Infantryman
Mark Steven Domingo, 26, of Reseda, was described by the U.S. Attorney as “a former U.S. Army infantryman with combat experience in Afghanistan.”
Authorities announced that Domingo “faces federal charges in a terrorist plot in which he planned to detonate an improvised explosive device (IED) for the purpose of causing mass casualties.”
In a criminal complaint filed Saturday by federal prosecutors and unsealed earlier Monday, Domingo was charged with providing and attempting to provide material support to terrorists. “Domingo, who has been in federal custody since his arrest, is expected to make his initial appearance this afternoon in United States District Court,” authorities revealed.
The complaint says that Domingo was “assigned to Fort Campbell, Kentucky, and then deployed to Afghanistan from September 10, 2012 to January 16, 2013.”
“Domingo, a former U.S. Army Infantryman, wanted to use improvised explosive devices against innocent civilians and he selected components that would make the bombs even more deadly to the victims he targeted,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers. “His arrest today mitigates the threat he posed to others in the Los Angeles community. I want to thank the agents, analysts, and prosecutors who are responsible for this investigation and arrest.”
2. Authorities Allege That Mark Domingo Planned to Commit ‘Mass Murder’ & Wanted “Another Vegas Event’
According to a 30-page affidavit in support of the complaint, since early March, Domingo “planned and took steps to manufacture and use a weapon of mass destruction in order to commit mass murder,” the press release says.
Domingo is accused of posting “an online video professing his Muslim faith on March 2, and the next day made another posting in which he said ‘America needs another vegas event’ (referring to the October 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada) that would give ‘them a taste of the terror they gladly spread all over the world,'” states the press release.
In that post he is accused of writing that another Vegas event would help “kick off civil unrest…and its not about winning the civil war its about weakening america…” The complaint alleges that Domingo was a recent convert to Islam.
“This investigation successfully disrupted a very real threat posed by a trained combat soldier who repeatedly stated he wanted to cause the maximum number of casualties,” said United States Attorney Nick Hanna. “Protecting Americans from terror attacks is the number one priority of the Justice Department, and anyone who plots to use a weapon of mass destruction will be held to account.”
Authorities stressed that the public was not in actual danger because authorities were onto the alleged plot.
“I’m extremely glad to be announcing that we interdicted a potential terrorist attack, rather than outlining the FBI’s response to yet another tragedy,” said Paul Delacourt, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office. “At no time was the public in danger and there is currently no known threat to public safety. I’m very proud of the agents and officers assigned to the Joint Terrorism Task Force who diligently marshaled the resources of our law enforcement partners in a short period of time and in doing so, ensured the safety of Southern California residents.”
3. Mark Domingo Is Accused of Expressing Support for ‘Violent Jihad’ to Avenge Muslims Killed in New Zealand
The press release alleges that Mark Domingo wrote online posts, expressing support for “violent jihad.” Following the attack on a mosque in New Zealand on March 13 that left many Muslims dead, Domingo posted, “there must be retribution,” authorities say.
“In online posts and in conversations with an FBI source, Domingo expressed support for violent jihad, a desire to seek retribution for attacks against Muslims, and a willingness to become a martyr,” authorities alleged.
“After considering various attacks – including targeting Jews, churches, and police officers – Domingo decided to detonate an IED at a rally scheduled to take place in Long Beach this past weekend. As part of the plot, Domingo asked his confederate – who actually was cooperating with the FBI as part of the investigation – to find a bomb-maker, and Domingo last week purchased several hundred nails to be used as shrapnel inside the IED.”
The Long Beach rally is a rally involving white supremacists.
“Domingo said he specifically bought three-inch nails because they would be long enough to penetrate the human body and puncture internal organs,” the affidavit states.
After Domingo “provided the nails to the undercover operative for use in the construction of the bomb, Domingo sent a message on Thursday indicating that the operation was to proceed,” according to the affidavit. “On Friday evening, the undercover operative delivered multiple inert devices, which Domingo believed were weapons of mass destruction. After inspecting the devices and travelling to a park in Long Beach to surveil the location of the planned attack, Domingo was taken into custody.”
4. Domingo Is Accused of Considering Attacks on Jews, Police Officers, Churches & the Military
The U.S. Attorney’s press release lists a series of targets allegedly considered by Mark Domingo.
A source had an “online conversation that resulted in a series of in-person meetings with Domingo. During the first meeting, on March 18, ‘Domingo discussed with the CHS different targets for an attack, including Jews, police officers, churches, and a military facility,’” according to the affidavit.
He’s accused of drawing up multiple scenarios for killing police officers. Among them: Shooting police officers at stoplights if they had their windows rolled down.
He also is accused of writing, “im jus enraged atm…these f*ckers do need to bleed…one way or another.”
When asked how many people he wanted to kill, Domingo is accused of saying, “…was thinking more like a group theres a bunch of Jews around this one street not a lot of parking so theyre forced to find parking and walk to synagogue,” the complaint accuses.
Other meetings allegedly occurred, and “Domingo continued to express his desire to commit a terrorist act, at points contemplating a drive-by shooting with a modified AK-47-style rifle he owned, and at other points considering the use of an IED,” alleges the press release.
“We strongly value the interagency cooperation and information sharing that occurs on a daily basis regarding potential threats to our region,” stated Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna. “I want to thank all of our partner agencies for their dedicated efforts on this extensive investigation and for ensuring that the City of Long Beach was not impacted by a significant act of senseless violence.”
5. Domingo Is Accused of Expressing Support for ISIS
During an April 3 meeting, Domingo allegedly “expressed support for ISIS and said ‘if ISIS ‘came here,’ he would swear allegiance to ISIS,’” according to the complaint.
The plan to target the rally “came into shape during an April 19 meeting, when Domingo arrived to a meeting with the CHS armed with an AK-47-style rifle ‘to show you that I’m serious,'” according to the complaint. “During that meeting, Domingo referenced the Boston Marathon bombing and asked the CHS to find a person to construct an IED that he said could cause 50 casualties.”
“The individual charged in this case wanted to carry out a mass casualty attack with explosive devices, and he moved very quickly from talking about violence to mobilizing to commit such an attack,” said Assistant Director Michael McGarrity of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Section. “This case should remind the public of the need to be vigilant and notify law enforcement if you see suspicious behavior.”