A 25-year-old New York man identified as Emanuel L. Lutchman has been arrested and charged in connection with an alleged plot to carry out a machete attack on a bar in the Rochester area, prosecutors say.
According to court documents, Lutchman received direction from an overseas Islamic State member for the planning of an armed attack against a restaurant/bar in the Rochester area during Thursday’s festivities. He also communicated with two people who helped him develop the plans but who were in fact working as informants for the FBI.
“The FBI thwarted Emanuel Lutchman’s intent to kill civilians on New Year’s Eve,” Special Agent in Charge Adam Cohen of the FBI’s Buffalo division said in a statement. “The FBI remains concerned about people overseas who use the Internet to inspire people in the United States to commit acts of violence where they live.”
Court documents described Lutchman as a self-professed Muslim convert with a criminal history dating back to 2006, which includes a robbery conviction for which he served about 5 years in prison and several arrests for Mental Hygiene. He is an American citizen who resides in Rochdale.
Prosecutors allege that Lutchman began communicating last week with a person claiming to be an Islamic State member in Syria. During these chats, Lutchman expressed his hatred for everything in the United States and his intention to leave the country and join ISIS in Syria. The ISIS member, however, told Lutchman that Syria’s borders are closed and that he would have to prove himself in order to join the group.
The overseas ISIS member went on to encourage Lutchman, saying: “New years is here soon. Do operations and kill some kuffar (infidels).” Lutchman responded by saying that he “hates” it in the United States and expressed his desire to join the ranks of the Islamic State, adding that he was ready to “give everything up” to be with ISIS in Syria. The overseas ISIS member again encouraged him to carry out an attack instead, saying, “For now do wat u can over there.”
The next day, on Sunday, Lutchman recorded an audio message in which he pledged allegiance to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and sent the recording to an FBI informant posing as an ISIS supporter. On Monday, Lutchman met with another FBI informant in person and discussed his communications with the ISIS member in Syria, saying they should carry out an attack on New Year’s Eve and then attempt to travel to Syria.
“The connection with Dawla (meaning ISIS) is already established. It’s just that, we just gotta show our allegiance. I’m ready to lose my family,” Lutchman allegedly told the FBI informant, saying that their attack should be “quiet and simple” in order to be able to make it to Syria. Later on Monday, Lutchman allegedly told the FBI informant that he wanted to plant a bomb inside a club/bar and kidnap several people in order to kill them.
At one point during Monday’s meeting, Lutchman and the FBI informant drove past a restaurant/bar in Rochester, and Lutchman identified it as a potential target for the attack. “I will take a life, I don’t have a problem with that,” he allegedly told the informant, adding that they would use knives during the attack and that he knew someone with a machete and a dagger.
During a second meeting on Tuesday, Lutchman and the FBI informant went to a Walmart store in Rochester to purchase supplies for their operation. While there, they purchased 2 black ski masks, zip-ties, 2 knives, a machete, dutct tape, ammonia and latex gloves. But because Lutchman did not have any money with him at the store, the FBI informant paid for the items, which cost about $40.
“It’s going to get real after this. It’s just you, me and the Lord. We gotta do this, we gotta do this precise,” Lutchman allegedly said. “If we grab somebody, they can’t live. They may identify the vehicle. They can’t live. … The operation is a go. We just gotta do it man. We got the knives, we got the gloves, we got the ammonia, so whatever the case may be.”
The FBI informant also assisted Lutchman in the making of a video in which he pledges allegiance to al-Baghdadi and claims responsibility for the planned attack in Rochester. The video was to be released after the attack was carried out, but Lutchman was arrested by the FBI on Wednesday while meeting with the FBI informant.
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