Maine teen planned ‘mass murder’ at Chicago mosques, synagogues: authorities – NBC Chicago
An 18-year-old Maine man accused of having improvised explosive devices in his backpack discussed plans to travel to Chicago to attack a mosque and other places of worship, federal prosecutors said.
Xavier Pelkey, of Waterville, was in communication with two minors about his intention to attack a mosque and possibly a synagogue, prosecutors said. A federal magistrate this week ordered his detention without bond.
“It’s fair to say that based on the information received by investigators, these were more than just words,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Wolff said Thursday.
Federal agents discovered three improvised devices in Pelkey’s backpack during a search of his apartment in Waterville on Feb. 11, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court.
The devices consisted of fireworks bundled together with staples, pins and tacks to create shrapnel in the event of an explosion, an FBI agent wrote.
Pelkey is charged with possession of an unregistered destructive device, a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
His attorney, Christopher MacLean, did not immediately return a message Thursday from The Associated Press.
Details of the discussion about the commission of what the prosecutor described in court as “mass murder” in places of worship are included in a sealed court document, Wolff said. He said he could only confirm what was said in court during Tuesday’s detention hearing.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations has urged federal prosecutors to bring hate crime charges in the case.
“This disturbing case highlights the real threat posed by anti-Muslim bigotry, anti-Semitism and other forms of hatred,” Edward Ahmed Mitchell, deputy director of CAIR, said in a statement.
Wolff declined to say if any further charges could be brought.