A man with anti-Islamic sentiments was arrested after he planned to conduct a mass shooting at an Islamic center in Florida, authorities said Monday.
Bernandino Bolatete, a 69-year-old green card holder from the Philippines, is charged with knowingly possessing a silencer not registered to him — a federal offense — in connection with the alleged plot.
The investigation began when a source in October alerted authorities about Bolatete’s scheme to shoot up the Islamic Center of Northeast Florida in Jacksonville, Jacksonville County Sheriff Mike Williams said at a press conference.
An undercover detective who made contact with Bolatete recorded conversations they had that confirmed Bolatete’s intentions to carry out the shooting, the sheriff said.
The department’s SWAT team arrested him on Dec. 1 after expressing interest in a prohibited possession of an accessory to one his firearms.
Authorities also raided Bolatete’s home to investigate if he had other illegal weapons, FBI special agent Charles Spencer said.
The raid came days after President Trump retweeted Islamophobic videos from a British far-right group last Wednesday, which received condemnation from critics in the U.S. and internationally.
The FBI has opened a civil rights investigation, and Bolatete could face more charges.