The U.S. Justice Department says authorities have arrested a New York state resident accused of planning to kill civilians on New Year's Eve in the name of the Islamic State group.
A statement during an initial court appearance Thursday morning says Emanuel Lutchman, 25, was charged with attempting to provide material support to IS. He was described in court records as a "self-professed Muslim convert with a criminal history dating back to approximately 2006 ... as well as previous state mental hygiene arrests."
The statement said, "the defendant, claiming to receive direction from an overseas [Islamic State] member, planned to commit an armed attack against civilians at a restaurant/bar located in the Rochester, New York, area." Court records said Lutchman had armed himself with knives, a machete, duct tape, zip ties and ski masks.
Suspect wanted to make a 'statement'
Assistant U.S. Attorney General John Carlin confirmed the attack plan was timed to take place later Thursday, but said, “Thankfully, law enforcement was able to intervene and thwart Lutchman's deadly plans."
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Lutchman wanted to make a "terrorist statement."
The Federal Bureau of Investigation's top agent in western New York state, Adam Cohen, said that while the alleged New Year's Eve plot was thwarted, the bureau "remains concerned about people overseas who use the Internet to inspire people in the United States to commit acts of violence where they live.”
News of the arrest followed reports from around the world that security precautions were tightened in many cities to protect New Year's celebrations.
Rochester canceled its planned New Year's Eve fireworks celebration.