NEW YORK, N.Y. – A suspect is in custody after authorities said he tried to buy a gun and grenades to use in a terror plot in downtown New York City, reported ABC News.
According to the story, 22-year-old Ashiqul Alam was intercepted by federal and local officials after he attempted to purchase grenades and mentioned detonating them in downtown Manhattan. Authorities said the man tried to intentionally buy a gun with a defaced serial number. According to reports, Alam was trying to decide whether to enact violence on civilians in NYC or travel to Washington DC to go after a Unites States government official.
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ABC noted that Alam lives in the Jackson Heights neighborhood in Queens, New York. Sources say that he was observed both inquiring about purchasing the explosives as well as mentioning his intention of potentially using them in one of the busiest sections of Manhattan.
They say Alam was investigated by members of the New York Joint Terrorism Task Force, which is made up of FBI agents and New York Police Department detectives. The group began tracking Alam and eventually took him into custody.
According to court papers, 22-year-old terror suspect Ashiqul Alam said the September 11 attacks were "a complete success" and "it was the 'duty of Muslims'" to make a new leader; the Bangladeshi immigrant from Queens allegedly zeroed in on attacking NYC https://t.co/RDNk4LLfsK pic.twitter.com/tjWC0KnQNO
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) June 8, 2019
They released information about the suspect, noting that after he was arrested they determined he posed “no imminent threat” to the community at that time.
Alam had proposed an attack either in Times Square or an attack in Washington to kill a U.S. government official, the complaint said. In April, the suspect reportedly met up with an undercover officer to visit a shooting range in Pennsylvania. While driving to the range, Alam told the officer that he had scheduled an appointment for laser vision correction, the complaint said.
When the cop asked him why, the suspect said he was worried that his glasses would fall off during the attack and he would accidentally shoot the officer, and joked that the media would call him the “Looney Toons Terrorist” or “Blind Terrorist,” according to the complaint.
Alam appeared in a Brooklyn court on Friday afternoon. Reuter’s reported that Alam’s lawyer, James Darrow, had asked for his client to be released on $200,000 bond, under home confinement and with an ankle monitor. He said Alam lived with his parents, who were both in the courtroom and prepared to sign the bond.
“As alleged, Ashiqul Alam bought illegal weapons as part of his plan to kill law enforcement officers and civilians in a terrorist attack on Times Square,” U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue, whose office brought the charges, said in a statement.
Alam was denied bond and is being held in federal custody. His next court appearance is scheduled for June 21 in Brooklyn. Magistrate Cheryl Pollak ordered Alam to be “permanently detained,” calling him a “danger” to the community.
Authorities noted that Alam did not appear to belong to any larger terror group and was apparently working alone. The NYPD requested that all questions be directed to the FBI.