A man in Florida was arrested last week for planning to use "a weapon of mass destruction" at a synagogue near Miami, federal authorities said today. The ill-fated words that James Gonzalo Medina reportedly uttered to the undercover FBI agent who sold him a fake explosive device, words which will likely seal the suspect's fate: "I'm ready, bro!"
Federal officials revealed today that their investigation of Medina began in March, after learning he'd spoken about wanting to attack a synagogue in South Florida. On Friday, the 40 year old Hollywood, Florida resident was arrested while carrying the FBI-supplied fake IED device on his person. The FBI busted him on his way to his intended target, Florida's Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center. The center houses a Holocaust memorial and a children's education facility. Nice, right?
Writes Mark Berman in The Washington Post:
The FBI's undercover employee is quoted in the affidavit as reminding Medina multiple times that the explosion could kill women and children, and asked him if he was sure he wanted to carry out the attack. At one point, Medina responded by saying: "I am pretty sure. I think so. I believe so. I'm ready, bro!"
Before he was arrested, Medina made videos on the cellphone belonging to the FBI's source. In one, he said: "I'm going to handle business here in America. Aventura, watch your back. ISIS is in the house." In another, he said goodbye to his family.
The FBI said that after Medina was arrested and read his rights, he admitted to wanting to bomb the synagogue and said his goal was to send a message.
Welp. Message received, asshole.
The synagogue and community center were open again today, after federal authorities in charge of the operation gave the all-clear.
"Please be assured that our security protocols are well in place, which includes close coordination with local law enforcement agencies to insure the security of our facility and the safety of our members, children, staff and visitors," Rabbi Jonathan Berkun and the center's executive director, Elliot B. Karp, wrote in a statement posted on Facebook.
"We will continue to review our procedures in consultation with our security consultant and law enforcement officials to take whatever measures are necessary to insure the safety and security of our synagogue and members."