ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WIVB) — Officials have announced the arrest of a Rochester man accused of attempting to provide material support to ISIL.
Authorities say Emanuel L. Lutchman, 25, planned an armed attack against people at a restaurant/bar in Rochester on New Year’s Eve in support of his plans to join the terrorist organization overseas.
He was arrested Wednesday and faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Carlin says Lutchman “planned to kill innocent civilians” as a way to support the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). He goes on to say that law enforcement officials were able to stop Lutchman’s plans.
“This New Year’s Eve prosecution underscores the threat of ISIL even in upstate New York but demonstrates our determination to immediately stop any who would cause harm in its name,” said U.S. Attorney William Hochul. “What began as an ISIL directive to harm the community ended with the arrest of this defendant and a message for any other individuals considering similar behavior – you will be caught, you will be prosecuted, and you will be punished. While law enforcement is well equipped for such investigations, the public is reminded to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity. I assure members of the public that the excellent work of our law enforcement partners with the cooperation of the public is the best way to ensure the safety of our community.”
A criminal complaint against Lutchman says he is a “self-professed Muslim convert” with a criminal history that dates back to approximately 2006. During that year, Lutchman was convicted of robbery and served approximately five years in prison. The complaint also says Lutchman was previously arrested in relation to mental hygiene.
The complaint also says Lutchman was in contact with an “overseas individual” identified as a member of ISIL in Syria. During conversations, Lutchman said he had been thinking a lot about “starting to organize [his] brothers that [he] know[s] to do operation for the sake of Allah,” according to the court document.
When asked by the overseas individual what was stopping him, Lutchman claimed he did not want to go back to prison, according to the complaint.
The complaint says that further conversation revealed that Lutchman planned to use knives in the attack. It was also said in the complaint that Lutchman bought two black ski masks, zip-ties, two knives, a machete, duct tape, ammonia and latex gloves in preparation for the attack.
The planned attack would have been Lutchman’s way to prove he was worthy of joining the Islamic State, according to federal authorities.
Governor Andrew Cuomo released a statement on the arrest:
“The arrest of Emanuel Lutchman is an important reminder of the new normal of global terrorism. Today law enforcement did their job well – but the challenges we face have never been greater, and it is incumbent on every citizen to be diligent and responsible. I want to reassure all New Yorkers and our state’s visitors that we are taking every precaution to keep people safe, and are in regular contact with our partners in both the federal government and local communities, statewide. I commend the Department of Justice as well as the FBI’s Rochester area Joint Terrorism Task Force, including the State Police, for their hard work and diligence in preventing this possible attack.”