The estranged son of a Boston police captain arrested in connection with attempted terrorist attack appeared in court Tuesday. Alexander Ciccolo of Adams, Mass., is accused of building bombs in his apartment to attack a university campus on behalf of the Islamic State militant group.
Mr. Ciccolo was arrested on July 4 for unlawful receipt of multiple weapons and charged in connection with a plot to commit terrorism, reports the U.S. Department of Justice. He was put under surveillance by the FBI after being reported for suspicious behavior on social media, where investigators linked him to the pseudonym “Ali al-Amriki” showing Ciccolo’s interest in the Islamic State. His father reportedly notified investigators of Ciccolo’s growing interest in militant Islam.
According to an affidavit by FBI Special Agent Paul Ambrogio, Ciccolo has “a long history of mental illness.”
Ciccolo was observed purchasing “at least one” pressure cooker on July 3, according to Agent Ambrogio. On July 4, he was arrested for accepting the delivery of two Glock handguns, a Colt AR-15 rifle, and a SigArms high-powered rifle. In his apartment, investigators also found improvised explosive devices, molotov cocktails, and machetes. The FBI also discovered incendiary devices that appeared to contain shredded styrofoam soaking in motor oil.
According to the affidavit, Ciccolo had intended to launch his attack prior to the end of Ramadan on July 17, and no later than July 31, according to the affidavit, the Monitor's Warren Richey repr
At one point, the operative asked Ciccolo what he thought of the recent terror attack against tourists on a Tunisian beach. The gunman, armed with an assault rifle, killed 38 vacationing civilians.
“Awesome,” Ciccolo replied, according to the affidavit. “Awesome, you know that brother in Tunisia was impressive.... He got like 38, 39 people ... one guy ... that is a huge accomplishment I think.”
Ciccolo asked the undercover operative for help with his own plans. He said he needed two rifles and two pistols and “tons of ammo.”
While at Franklin County House of Correction, Ciccolo stabbed a nurse in the head with a pen, prosecutors say.
Court papers record that Ciccolo waived his Miranda rights and expressed his support for the Islamic State.
Ciccolo will appear for a bond hearing on Tuesday in Springfield, Mass. He faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Prosecutors say Ciccolo is dangerous and a risk to flee, if released.
This report contains material from Reuters.