Modesto man accused of planning Christmas terror attack
A Modesto man is accused of planning to carry out a terror attack during Christmas week at San Francisco's Pier 39.
According to court documents, the FBI says Everitt Aaron Jameson "knowingly (provided) material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization." Jameson is also said to have posted about his radical beliefs on social media and stated his support for the Oct. 31 terror attack in New York that killed eight people.
Investigators say Jameson, a former Marine, met with an FBI agent posing as a member of ISIS and described his plan to carry out an attack in San Francisco the week leading up to Christmas. Court documents say Jameson told the undercover agent he chose Pier 39 because he knew it was often crowded. He wanted to use explosives to "funnel" people into an area where he could then fire upon the crowd, investigators said.
Jameson told the undercover agent he had no need for an escape route because he was "ready to die," according to court documents.
“I can suit up and take myself to our brothers. Or whatever they need done here..." he wrote to the agent on Facebook. "I have no doubt. I am ready. Give the word and it shall be done.”
Authorities ultimately searched his Modesto home on Wednesday. Investigators say a number of firearms, a letter claiming responsibility and his Last Will and Testament were found in his home.
Investigators say Jameson told agents during questioning that he supported ISIS and "would be happy if an attack was carried out."
During his court appearance in Fresno, Jameson denied the allegations against him. He will return to court Thursday for a detention hearing.
Jameson had worked for a tow company in the Modesto area. During his time in the Marines, Jameson earned a "sharpshooter" qualification but was discharged after he didn't disclose his history with asthma.
"I just couldn’t believe it, you know what I mean, that’s not him," Jameson's father, Gordon, said. "This is not the way he was raised, this is not him."
Jameson's father says his family is shocked, and believes his son grew more and more distraught when he lost custody of his children about a year ago. It was around that same time that his family says he shared his newfound religion, but he never said anything about radical jihadi beliefs.
The family's Merced home was also raided, but relatives say investigators found nothing.
"It’s like they're talking about somebody else. I can’t explain it any other way -- it’s not my nephew that they’re talking about," Sarah Jameson, the suspect's aunt, told FOX40.
Modesto Neighbors in Disbelief
Monica Fitch is one of several neighbors who told FOX40 they did not know Jameson, his mother, or anyone who lived in the home in Modesto. However, she says she saw Jameson on almost a daily basis.
As he climbed into the truck he drove for Anderson's Towing, Fitch never really had reason to notice him. That is until several months ago when she says he came out of the house dressed in a floor-length tunic, which she took to be traditional Muslim clothing.
"It just caught my attention," Fitch said.
Fitch says she only saw him dressed that way once. During the other times she saw him he was casually dressed, but did regularly wear a skull cap.
She says she never saw anything that would lead her to believe Jameson had any radical Islamic beliefs.