DEARBORN HEIGHTS, Mich. — A Michigan man who allegedly supports the barbaric terror group ISIS has been arrested after telling an undercover agent that he had plotted an attack on a Detroit church.
Khalil Abu-Rayyan, 21, of Dearborn Heights, was taken into custody this past week after being watched by the FBI since May 2015.
According to the federal criminal complaint filed on Thursday, investigators noted that he had been re-Tweeting, liking and commenting on ISIS-related posts, including videos of the Jordanian pilot being burned alive, men being thrown from a high-rise building and the beheading of Egyptian Copts.
In December, an undercover agent began engaging in discussions with Abu-Rayyan on social media, at which time Abu-Rayyan allegedly expressed his support for ISIS and stated that he wanted to carry out a martyrdom operation. He also explained that he had targeted a local church for an attack.
“I tried to shoot up a church one day,” Abu-Rayyan wrote. “I don’t know the name of it but it’s close to my job. One of the biggest ones in Detroit.”
“I had it planned out. I brought a bunch of bullets. I practiced a lot with [my gun]. I practiced reloading and unloading,’ he continued, “but my dad searched my car one day and he found everything. He found the gun and the bullets and the mask I was going to wear.”
The criminal complaint outlines that Abu-Rayyan told the investigator that he regrets not following through with his plan.
“[I chose the venue because] it’s easy, and a lot of people go there, plus people are not allowed to carry guns in church. Plus it would make the news. Everybody would have heard,” he said. “Honestly, I regret not doing it. If I can’t go do jihad at the Middle East I would do a jihad over here.”
While the FBI has not yet released the name of the congregation, it says that it believes the house of worship was a 6,000-member assembly located less than half a mile from Abu-Rayyan’s place of employment.
Weeks later, Abu-Rayyan told the undercover investigator that he wanted to kill the officer who had arrested him in October on drug charges. He expressed his desire to carry out a martyrdom operation at the hospital where the officer was receiving treatment after a heart attack.
The following day, “Abu-Rayyan also said hearing about shootings and death makes him excited,” according to the complaint.
“I would gladly behead people if I needed to,” he wrote. “It is my dream to behead someone…”
Abu-Rayyan is expected to appear for a detention hearing on Monday afternoon surrounding the drug and weapons charge from October. It is possible that prosecutors will add terror charges for his support for ISIS and plot to kill churchgoers and the police officer.