Police say they stopped a man from carrying out a planned mass shooting at a Florida Islamic center.
Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams announced Monday that police arrested 69-year-old Bernardino Gawala Bolatete after he tried to buy a gun silencer from an undercover officer.
Police began investigating Bolatete after receiving a tip from a confidential source that Bolatete was planning a mass shooting at the Islamic Center of Northeast Florida.
An undercover officer contacted him and arranged the sale of the silencer. During taped conversations, Bolatete repeated his plans for the shooting.
He was arrested Friday after the silencer was delivered.
Williams said Bolatete already had the weaponry necessary to carry out the attack.
Bolatete is being held by the FBI and more charges could be filed. It was not known if he has an attorney.
The Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations welcomed the arrest.
“Violence and hate crimes against Muslims in Florida are real. Two mosques were targeted with arson in less than six months. Bolatete is an anti-Muslim extremist who was allegedly preparing to massacre innocent Muslims on an American center of worship in what could be construed as an act of terrorism," CAIR-Florida Communications Director Wilfredo A. Ruiz said in a statement. "This should concern not only Muslims, but all Florida residents regardless of faith."