Holland Man Arrested For Planning Attack On Toledo Area Synagogue

TOLEDO, Ohio - A Holland man was arrested Friday evening for allegedly planning an attack on a synagogue in the Toledo area. 

Damon Joseph, 21, was arrested and charged in federal court with one count of attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, for allegedly planning an attack on an area synagogue. Joseph was arrested Friday evening after taking possession of two semi-automatic rifles. 

According to court filings, Joseph drew the attention of law enforcement earlier this year when he posted photographs of weapons and various messages in support of ISIS on his social media accounts. This lead to interactions with undercover FBI agents. He would later communicate with the agents that he admired the mass shooting at a Jewish synagogue in Pittsburgh in October. 

Then in December, Joseph shared plans with agents for an attack on a Toledo-area synagogue. In a December 6 meeting with an undercover agent, Joseph wrote the name and address of the synagogue where the attack was to occur. He stated he had conducted research to determine when the Jewish sabbath was so that more people would be present. Joseph was arrested on December 7 when he met with an undercover agent to take possession of a pair of semi-automatic rifles he had arranged to purchase for the attack. 

“In a matter of months, Damon Joseph progressed from radicalized, virtual jihadist to attack planner,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Jeff Fortunato of the FBI's Cleveland Division.  “He ultimately decided to target two Toledo-area synagogues for a mass-casualty attack in the name of ISIS. Joseph will now be accountable in a court of law for his pursuit of a violent act of terrorism upon our fellow citizens attending their desired house of worship.”

“This man spent months planning a violent terrorist attack on behalf of ISIS here in the United States, and eventually targeted a Jewish synagogue in the Toledo area,” said U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman.  “The charges describe a calculated man fueled by an ideology of hatred and intent on killing innocent people. The FBI, our police and Justice Department employees are to be credited for working to stop the defendant before he could act.”

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