A South Carolina teenager, who authorities believe wanted to join the Islamic State group, was sentenced to five years in prison on gun charges, a prosecutor said Tuesday. The 16-year-old, whose name was not revealed, reportedly plotted to kill U.S. troops in North Carolina to avenge the U.S.-led coalition's military action against ISIS in Syria.
The teen, whose family is reportedly from Syria, had plotted, with a Muslim militant from North Carolina, to rob a gun store near Raleigh, North Carolina, and attack a U.S. military base, before traveling to Syria. However, prosecutors could only charge the boy with possession of a weapon by a minor because South Carolina does not have a terrorism law, York County Solicitor Kevin Brackett said, according to the Associated Press.
The teen was "wholeheartedly sincere in his beliefs, and we are very concerned for the safety of the community and the country," Brackett reportedly said. "He had a plan to randomly shoot American soldiers." He was “seduced by the radical ideology known in the Middle East as ISIS. He wanted to join,” Brackett added.
Local police reportedly went to the teenager’s house in February after receiving reports that he had a gun, and later found the firearm, ammunition and a rifle. Investigators also found an ISIS flag during the search, local news network WBTV reported.
ISIS has reportedly won the sympathies of several youths from the West who have later made attempts to join the group in its fight in the Middle East. However, the number of ISIS recruits from the U.S. reportedly remains small in comparison with Western Europe, where over 3,000 people are believed to have traveled to Syria to join the group.