Published On: Mon, May 7th, 2018

Texas terrorist plot: Teen Matin Azizi-Yarand arrested for mass shooting scheme, ties to ISIS

Authorities have arrested a 17-year-old high school student who was planning a shooting at a Texas shopping mall. Inspired by the Columbine shooting, his desire was to create havoc for America, make it like Europe and possibly attack a nearby Hinda temple as well.

Matin Azizi-Yarand was taken into custody on Tuesday and charged with terrorism for plotting an attack at the Stonebriar Centre in Frisco. The teen, who authorities say pledged allegiance to Islamic State, planned to carry out the shooting sometime in May.

CBS Dallas reported that Azizi-Yarand spent approximately $1,400 on “weapons and tactical gear for his attack.”

Law enforcement officials obtained the Plano West Senior High School student’s “manifesto” in which he pledged allegiance to ISIS. Authorities said that Azizi-Yarand was also trying to solicit others into joining him on the mass shooting spree, though affidavits suggest that he wanted to be a “lone wolf.”

“The FBI is not aware of any additional threats associated with this arrest,” explained FBI special agent Eric K. Jackson.

“The American people can take comfort in knowing that we continue to work diligently to protect and defend the United States and to ensure the safety of the communities we serve.”

Matin Azizi-Yarand

Posing as a sympathetic individual, the FBI began communicating with Azizi-Yarand in December using a mobile messenging app. The teen expressed his desire to commit an attack, adding that he had been reading ISIS guides for “performing operations and making bombs.”

Azizi-Yarand had reportedly also been reviewing a guide to making pipe bombs which was authored by Eric Harris, one of the attackers in the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School.

“This case exemplifies the wide reach terrorist groups have through social media and other means,” said Chief Gregory Rushin of the Plano Police Department, “to radicalize others in communities across our country.”

Azizi-Yarand allegedly said, “It is not about how many kills, but how much money you will make these countries spend in security just for a simple attack… although having a high number will get their attention.”

“I want to put America in the state that Europe is in, which is having to have soldiers deployed in streets,” Azizi-Yarand added, according to an affidavit. “Something that will cost them a lot financially too.”

“We are fortunate that the brave men and women of local and federal law enforcement work around the clock to prevent acts of terrorism and mass shootings,” said Collin County district attorney Greg Willis.

Azizi-Yarand allegedly said that he hoped to travel to Pakistan, and then cross the border into Afghanistan in order to officially join ISIS. He also allegedly said that he would use the mobile messaging app to find others who could help him with an attack.

Azizi-Yarand invited the FBI source to Dallas late last year. “There is a Hindu temple I want to shoot up,” the suspect allegedly said, asking for help. “Get some crappy car and ditch it somewhere. Police response time here is really slow.” He said that he was waiting until he obtained a “proper gun” to commit that shooting.

The suspect then began speaking with an undercover FBI agent in January 2018. Azizi-Yarand allegedly told the agent and the FBI source that he had two other men who were “serious about this,” but he was waiting until he turned 18 years old so that he could buy guns.

Azizi-Yarand’s birthday is in November.

In later conversations, the teenager tried to get the FBI source to purchase guns for the attack, with Azizi-Yarand funneling money to him through prepaid cards sent to a post office box.

Azizi-Yarand was said to be in contact with an ISIS member, who told him, “guns are simple, just open fire” when the suspect expressed concern about being untrained. “How hard can it be to spray down a big crowd of people? Las Vegas the dude was just blind firing. And got 100.”

When looking into potential targets, Azizi-Yarand allegedly also considered a school. “School is a perfect place for an attack. Crowded and close quarters,” he said. “Even a blind man could take 10 easily. Just fire where you hear screams.”

However, the Stonebriar Centre appears to have been picked as the target in March.

Azizi-Yarand allegedly told the FBI source that he had been observing the layout of the building, the number of security officers there, and the regular movements of the shopping mall’s patrons. He allegedly also planned to set some stores on fire.

“I’d actually like to make a cop surrender and drop his gun,” Azizi-Yarand allegedly said to the FBI source. “Then, douse him with gasoline and burn him. Record it.”

Azizi-Yarand met the FBI source in person last month.

They connected at the source’s hotel and walked less than a mile to the Stonebriar Centre. There, they observed security officers and patrons together, and discussed the need for more weapons so that nobody would “try and take us on.”

They planned to kill the mall’s police officers first.


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About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at theglobaldispatch@gmail ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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