U.S. authorities said on Monday they have arrested a heavily armed Massachusetts man who was building bombs in his apartment and planned to attack a crowded university campus cafeteria on behalf of the Islamic State militant group.
Alexander Ciccolo, 23, also known as Ali Al Amriki, was arrested on July 4 for the unlawful receipt of multiple guns, the U.S. Justice Department said in a news release. His indictment was unsealed on Monday.
The college he intended to target was not disclosed.
FBI agents put Ciccolo under surveillance after being alerted to some of his posts on social media.
They watched him buy at least one pressure cooker at a Wal Mart store in North Adams, Massachusetts, according to an affidavit by FBI Special Agent Paul Ambrogio.
Pressure-cooker bombs were used in the attacks on the Boston Marathon in 2013, killing three and injuring 264 people.
Ciccolo’s father is Boston police Captain Robert Ciccolo, a veteran commander who was one of the first responders to the 2013 Marathon bombing.
Ciccolo is accused of being a supporter of Islamic State. Ciccolo told an informant he wanted to build bombs similar to the ones used in the attacks on the marathon, according to the affidavit.
After his arrest, authorities said they searched his apartment and found partially built bombs.
‘These incendiary devices contained what appeared to be shredded Styrofoam soaking in motor oil,’ Ambrogio said in his affidavit.
Ciccolo allegedly said the Styrofoam would cause the fire from the exploded devices to stick to people’s skin and make it harder to put the fire out, according to the affidavit.
Ciccolo was arrested after taking delivery of two Glock handguns, a Colt AR-15 rifle and a SigArms high-powered rifle, according to authorities.
After his arrest while at the Franklin County House of Correction, Ciccolo is accused of stabbing a nurse in the head with a pen.
The assault left a hole in the nurse’s skin and caused the pen to break in half, according to Ambrogio’s affidavit.
It not immediately know whether Ciccolo had an attorney.
According to the Boston Police Department, Ciccolo has been in and out of hospitals for mental illness and his police captain father noticed suspicious activity and turned him over to police.