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Coeur d’Alene Teen Arrested for Planning Church Attacks in Support of ISIS


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Coeur d’Alene Teen Arrested for Planning Church Attacks in Support of ISIS

News Brief by FāVS Staff

Federal agents arrested an 18-year-old teen over the weekend who allegedly pledged allegiance to ISIS and intended to commit attacks on its behalf.

Alexander Scott Mercurio, 18, of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, was arrested Saturday, April 6, before his plan to attack individuals at churches where he lives the following day. He planned to use knives, firearms and fire, according to the U.S. Department of Justice press release.

Mercurio sent a direct message to an FBI “confidential human source” quoted in an affidavit attached to the criminal complaint, NBC News reports.

In this message, Mercurio shared his plan.

“Stop close by the church, equip the weapon(s) and storm the temple, kill as many people as possible before they inevitably disperse/scatter, then burn the temple to the ground and flee the scene,” Mercurio allegedly wrote.

The attack was timed to coincide with the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, investigators said.

He said he would then repeat this for all 21 churches in the town, according to prosecutors, NBC News reports, adding that law enforcement officers found an ISIS flag, butane canisters, lighters, handcuffs, a knife, a pipe and a machete at his house during his arrest, as well as several firearms belonging to his father which he allegedly planned to take.

“This case should be an eye-opener to the dangers of self-radicalization, which is a real threat to our communities,” said Special Agent in Charge Shohini Sinha of the Salt Lake City FBI, in a press release.

The FBI is investigating the case with assistance of the Coeur d’Alene Police Department, Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office and Ada County Sheriff’s Office.

If convicted, Mercurio faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison. 

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