Authorities have arrested a 69-year-old man who they say was planning a mass shooting at an Islamic center in Jacksonville, Florida.
Bernandino Gawala "Nandie" Bolatete faces charges of knowingly receiving and possessing a silencer without registering it as required by federal law, according to the authorities.
At a Monday press conference, Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams said Bolatete, "had expressed a strong anti-Islamic sentiment" and "had weaponry to carry out the attack."
The deadliest mass shootings in the US since 1900
The deadliest mass shootings in the US since 1900
On October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada, gunman Stephen Paddock opened fire on concertgoers below from the windows of his suite at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
As of October 3, at least 59 people are dead and over 500 injured in what became the deadliest mass shooting in United States history.
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Five Dallas police officers were shot and killed by Micah Xavier Johnson, 25, as they guarded a group of protesters on July 7, 2016.
(Photo via REUTERS/Carlo Allegri)
On June 12, 2016, Omar Mateen opened fire inside Pulse Nightclub, a well-known LGBT club in Orlando, Florida, killing 49 people and injuring 58.
REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo
Chris Harper-Mercer, 26, opened fire on the Umpqua Community College campus in Roseburg, Oregon, killing nine people and wounding nine others before he was shot dead by police on October 1, 2015.
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White supremacist Dylann Roof, 21, opened fire at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, during a bible study, leaving nine churchgoers dead on June 18, 2015.
Rival motorcycle gangs killed nine at a restaurant in Waco, Texas, on May 18, 2015. More than 190 people are arrested.
(REUTERS/Waco Police Department/Handout)
Fourteen people were killed and 22 were wounded when married couple Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik attacked a service center for people with developmental disabilities during its holiday party in San Bernadino, California, on Dec. 2, 2015.
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A college student killed six people, three in his apartment and others on the streets of Isla Vista, California, on May 23, 2014. The mentally ill gunman committed suicide.
(Photo by Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
A former Navy reservist working as a government contractor killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard on Sept. 16, 2013. He was shot dead by police.
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On December 14, 2012, Adam Lanza attacked Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, killing 20 children and six school staff members.
(Photo by James Keivom/NY Daily News via Getty Images)
A masked gunman killed 12 people and wounded 70 when he opened fire on July 20, 2012, at a midnight premiere of the Batman film "The Dark Knight Rises" in Aurora, Denver.
A white supremacist opened fire in the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, on August 6, 2012, killing six people.
Then-U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) was the target of an assassination attempt by a gunman in Tucson, Arizona, on Jan. 8, 2011. More than a dozen other people were injured and six people were killed at a public event entitled 'Congress on Your Corner' when a gunman opened fire.
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U.S. Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan, an army psychiatrist, killed 13 people and wounded 30 in a shooting at Fort Hood military base on November 5, 2009.
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On April 3, 2009, 41-year-old Jiverly Antares Wong killed 13 people inside an immigration center in Binghamton, New York.
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On April 16, 2007, gunman Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people on the campus of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia.
(Photo by Ted Richardson/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT via Getty Images)
A gunman killed five girls in a one-room Amish schoolhouse October 2, 2006, in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania. The man entered the school, let the boys go free, tied up the girls and shot them execution-style before killing himself.
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Two men, John Allen Muhammad, 41, and Lee Boyd Malvo, 17, ambushed 13 people, killing 10 of them, in sniper-style shootings that terrorized the Washington D.C. area for three weeks in October 2002. Muhammad was executed and Malvo was sentenced to life in prison.
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The Columbine High School massacre was perpetrated by students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold who killed 12 fellow students and one teacher on April 20, 1999.
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George Hennard killed 23 people and injured 27 others when he attacked Luby's Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas, on October 16, 1991.
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James Huberty, pictured here, shot and killed 21 people and hurt 19 others at a McDonald's restaurant in San Ysidro, California, on July 18, 1984.
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Student Charles Whitman climbed to the top of the clock tower at the University of Texas where he shot and killed 13 people after killing his mother and wife on August 1, 1966.
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The Ludlow massacre took place when members of the Colorado National Guard as well as other militiamen shot down 19 striking coal miners in 1914.
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A criminal complaint released by authorities said Bolatete had been under investigation since October, when a tipster notified authorities of the alleged plot. Authorities said they immediately devised a plan to protect the mosque and to have an undercover officer befriend Bolatete, a Jacksonville resident.
"Due to many safeguards we had in place during this investigation, at no time were ... any of the members of (the center) at risk," FBI Special Agent in Charge Charles Spencer said Monday.
Bolatete was arrested Friday after buying a silencer from the undercover officer. The suspect could face more charges, officials said.
The complaint contains chilling excerpts of comments allegedly made by Bolatete during extensive recorded conversations and text messages. According to police, he told the undercover officer that his health was declining due to kidney problems and he wanted to "shoot up" a mosque before he died.
"I just want to give these freaking people a taste of their own medicine ... they are the ones who are always doing these shootings," Bolatete wrote in a Nov. 14 text message, authorities said.
According to the FBI, Bolatete said he planned to carry out the attack at the Islamic Center of Northeast Florida on St. Johns Bluff Road.
Bolatete told the undercover officer he owned several guns, including an AR-15 rifle, police said. He also allegedly had planned the attack down to where he intended to start shooting – from inside the mosque's tower.
"It will be great," Bolatete told the undercover officer, according to the criminal complaint.
At another point in the conversation, Bolatete allegedly said he was prepared to die during the attack.
"I'm not thinking of getting caught ... I'll die there in that area," he said, according to police. "They'll be some sort of suicide thing ... suicide by police."
The suspect also allegedly confessed to killing a police officer in the Philippines after an argument about a parking spot. The date and validity of that alleged incident is not yet known.
A bond hearing is set for Bolatete Tuesday afternoon at the federal courthouse in Jacksonville.
LIVE News Conference - Jacksonville man charged with illegal possession of a firearms silencer. Mass shooting was planned at Islamic Center and PREVENTED by JSO. FBI has now been given custody of suspect Bernardino Gawala Bolatete, 69 years old.
"He's a sweet old man who wouldn't hurt a fly," she said, adding that she'd never heard him say anything derogatory about Muslims.
Bolatete works at a liquor store, his brother, Pete Bolatete, told the television station.
"He is a gun aficionado. He likes to collect guns," the brother said. "Really, we talk about what we are going to do when we retire and go back to the Phillipines. Talking about, maybe starting a gun club."