A Topeka, Kansas man has been charged in federal court with attempting to detonate a car bomb at a military base as part of a plot to support Islamic State, the U.S. Department of Justice said Friday.
Officials said 20-year-old John Booker was taken into custody Friday when he and undercover federal agents met near the military base to try to arm what he did not realize was an inert bomb. A second Topeka man, 28-year-old Alexander Blair, also was arrested and charged Friday with knowing about Booker's plan and failing to report it to authorities.
U.S. Assistant Attorney General Carlin said the suspect purportedly wanted to carry out the attack in the name of the Islamic State group. He was also charged with attempting to provide material support to the designated foreign terrorist organization.
If convicted Booker could face a maximum penalty of life in prison.
The Justice Department complaint said Booker identified Fort Riley as a good target, “because the post is famous and there are a lot of soldiers stationed there."
It also said Booker allegedy spent months discussing multiple plans before deciding on a suicide mission. It said Booker told another person he favored a suicide attack because he would not be captured and all evidence would be destroyed if he carried out the attack.
As alleged in the complaint, Booker assisted in acquiring components for a vehicle bomb, produced a propaganda video, rented a storage locker to store components for the explosive device, and talked about his commitment to trigger the device himself and become a martyr.