Officials: Man Who Spoke Of Jihad Arrested In Plot
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — There are new details about the 21-year-old arrested for trying to bomb a Baltimore County military recruitment center.
Kelly McPherson has more.
Federal agents allege that Antonio Martinez, 21, of Baltimore was plotting to attack the U.S. government. His target was a military recruitment center in Catonsville.
What Martinez–who also goes by Muhammad Hussain–didn’t know was that he was plotting with an undercover FBI agent who was recording their conversations. The affidavit quotes Martinez: “We will blow one recruiting center up; people ain’t gonna be able to get recruited at that one, then we hit another one, then we hit another one. There’s no more recruiting in Maryland.”
“The defendant initiated the idea of attacking U.S. personnel. He initiated the specific idea of targeting this particular U.S. Army recruiting center,” said Rod Rosenstein, U.S. Attorney.
The undercover agent gave Martinez a fake bomb that Martinez believed to be real.
The affidavit says that Martinez had to practice driving the vehicle that would carry the bomb because he hadn’t driven in a while, and then on Wednesday morning, he parked the truck in the middle of the parking lot, left with the undercover agent and tried to detonate the fake bomb.
“Throughout the investigation, the FBI seeks to clarify the defendant’s intent, challenging him, told that he doesn’t need to go forward with this,” Rosenstein said.
Agents say one time Martinez responded with, “Each and every Muslim in this country knows that America is at war with Islam and they’re not doing anything about it. No one is stepping up to do anything. We have to be the ones to pull the trigger.”
Martinez is accused of plotting this attack from inside our own community, posting his plans right on Facebook.
Kai Jackson has reaction from neighbors that a suspected terrorist was in their midst.
The informant said Martinez told him he wanted–before committing jihad–to spend a few days with his wife.
Neighbors in the Northwest Baltimore neighborhood are shocked by the arrest.
“It’s unbelievable. Right here in the neighborhood, having someone like that living right next to us…it’s a shame,” said church elder George Jackson.
There’s also a day care center right across the street from the suspect’s home.
“We work here, our kids are here. It’s really shocking,” said Jennifer Richardson.
His neighbors next door and across the street don’t know him.
According to the court documents, he told the FBI informant he moves all the time to remain anonymous.
A woman who just moved in next door with her children says the father of one is a Muslim and it isn’t a violent or hateful religion.
“No, they’re not hateful people. I mean, you have those that take religion to a whole different extreme,” said Zatia Gibson.
“It’s shocking. It’s scary to think the terrorists live right in the building where I live,” said Lasharn McDaniels, who lives in Martinez’s building.
According to court documents, Martinez told the FBI informant that his mother did not support his life choices but his wife did–including his plans to commit jihad.