A Kansas man arrested on Friday for plotting a suicide car bomb plot in support of Islamic State militant group, may be mentally ill. John T. Booker, Jr., 20, a Topeka resident was charged for the plot after attempting to detonate a bomb at Fort Riley, in front of two FBI undercover agents, according to Reuters.
Days before his arrest, Booker was acting strangely, according to a Muslim cleric counseling him. The two undercover agents had brought him there last year, telling the cleric that he suffered from bipolar disorder, Imam Omar Hazim of the Islamic Center of Topeka told the Associated Press. After hearing of a bomb plot involving Booker and two others, the FBI informed Hazim of the sting operation.
"I think the two FBI agents set him up, because they felt at that point someone else might have done the same thing and put a real bomb in his hands," Hazim told the AP.
For the plot, Booker was charged with three counts, including attempting to provide material support to Islamic State fighters and attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction. Federal prosecutors also charged another Topeka resident, Alexander E. Blair, 28, for failing to report Booker’s plot to the authorities. Blair reportedly shared some of his views and lent him money to rent a storage unit where bomb components were stored, according to Reuters.
The FBI had been tracking Booker as far back as March 2014, when he posted Facebook messages expressing interest in Jihad: "Getting ready to be killed in jihad is a HUGE adrenaline rush!! I am so nervous," he wrote, according to the agency. "NOT because I'm scared to die but I am eager to meet my lord."
A year later, two undercover agents witnessed Booker making an ISIS propaganda video outside of Fort Riley. If convicted, Booker will face a life sentence, while Blair could see up to three years in prison.