BREAKING: ‘Should I Bomb Trump Tower?’ — NJ Man Arrested After Threats
A New Jersey man was arrested Wednesday after threatening to “shoot everybody” at a pro-Israel march and bomb Trump Tower in New York.
Jonathan Xie, 20, has been also been charged with attempting to provide support to a terrorist organization after allegedly sending money to Hamas militants.
Federal authorities say Xie had social media accounts filled with terror propaganda. The FBI said Xie had also declared support for former Iraq leader Saddam Hussein, Syrian leader Bashar al Assad, and North Korea.
“In April, Xie allegedly appeared in an Instagram Live video in which he said he was against Zionism and the neo-liberal establishment,” ABC-30 reported. “In the same video he displayed a Hamas flag, retrieved a handgun and stated ‘I’m gonna go to the [expletive] pro-Israel march and I’m going to shoot everybody.’ “
In another Instagram post quoted in court documents, Xie said, “I want to shoot the pro-Israel demonstrators…you can get a gun and shoot your way through or use a vehicle and ram people… all you need is a gun or a vehicle to go on a rampage.”
FBI surveillance observed Xie outside of the Trump Tower building in New York City around April 20 of this year. Shortly thereafter, Xie posted two photos to his Instagram account, according to Instagram records.
One photo had the words “I want to bomb Trump Tower” imposed over the building image, and the other photo had the words “[S]hould I bomb Trump Tower,” a “Yes/No” poll, and an emoji of a bomb imposed over an image of the Trump Tower building.
Xie subsequently posted on Instagram, “Okay, so I went to NYC today and passed by Trump Tower and then I started laughing hysterically…I forgot to visit the Israeli embassy in NYC…i want to bomb this place along with trump tower.”
Xie allegedly said he wanted to join “to learn how to kill … so I can use that knowledge” and “Idk if I pass the training … If I should do lone wolf,” NBC-4 reported.
According to a criminal complaint, Xie lied in an effort to enlist in the U.S. Army for training earlier this year. Prosecutors say he went as far as completing a Security Clearance Application for National Security Positions in February and answered “no” to the question “Have you ever associated with anyone involved in activities to further terrorism.” An error occurred in the application processing and he had to do it again 10 days later. Again, he answered no to that question.
Xie also appeared in an Instagram Live video in April wearing a black ski mask and saying he would “find a way” to go join Hamas.
Federal officials said Xie was a clear and present danger.
“Homegrown violent extremists like Xie are a serious threat to national security,” U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said in a statement. “The actions that he took and planned to take made that threat both clear and present, and we commend our law enforcement partners for working closely with us to stop him before he could carry out his plans to commit violence on American soil. We will continue to do everything in our power to safeguard our country and its citizens from the threat of terrorism, whether that threat comes from abroad or – as here – from within.”
“The FBI remains vigilant in its efforts to protect the public from those who support terrorist groups and ideologies,” FBI-Newark Special Agent in Charge Gregory Ehrie said. “Thanks to the hard work and determination of our agents and their law enforcement partners on the Joint Terrorism Task Force, this defendant’s further support to terrorism was disrupted and a threat to the safety of our community was averted. This case also illustrates the value of public awareness and participation. When you report suspicious activity, you become a force multiplier in the mission to keep America safe.”