A judge on Monday rejected an attempt by defense attorneys to delay trial for an Army veteran from Reseda accused of supporting the Islamic State and plotting a terrorist bombing at a Long Beach park.
U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson told lawyers for Mark Domingo that a May 26 trial date for the ex-infantryman would go forward without further continuances.
Domingo, 27, was arrested in April after visiting Bluff Park where authorities said he planned to conceal home-made explosive devices made with nail-filled pressure cookers in advance of a planned white nationalist rally and counter-protest. He faces federal charges of providing material support to terrorists and attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, and is being held in federal custody pending trial.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Reema Mohamed El-Amamy gave the court an account of a government sting operation in which Domingo allegedly told an FBI informant of his desire for a mass-casualty event on the scale of the 2017 Las Vegas shooting massacre and 2013 Boston Marathon bombing in “retribution” for attacks last year on two New Zealand mosques that left 51 dead.
At a meeting between Domingo and the informant, the defendant said he was prepared to commit mass murder and would like to shoot homeless people and “Jews walking down the street,” the prosecutor alleged in Los Angeles federal court.
El-Amamy said government agents were able to prevent any immediate attacks by the defendant by calming him down.
Although there was some discussion of Rule 12—required notice of a planned insanity defense—it was not clear if Domingo’s public defender David Israel Wasserman would employ such an argument.
Domingo, whose military service included combat in Afghanistan, faces up to life in prison if convicted of the two counts in the May 22 indictment.
READ: the full criminal complaint against Domingo.
According to the 30-page affidavit filed in the case, Domingo made a series of online posts and had discussions with an FBI informant describing his support for “violent jihad and his aspiration to conduct an attack in the LosAngeles area.”
One posting referenced the recent fatal attacks at mosques in New Zealand and said “there must be retribution.”
Federal authorities contend Domingo considered a variety of attack targets—including police officers, churches and a military facility.
The affidavit alleges that Domingo repeatedly met with a person he believed to be a co-conspirator but who was actually an FBI informant. During those meetings, Domingo discussed carrying out a mass-casualty attack and obtaining an explosive device and firearms to carry out the plan, federal prosecutors said.
Domingo allegedly plotted with the informant to obtain an explosive device and purchased the 3-inch nails that he wanted to be planted inside the bomb to cause more extensive damage and injuries. After later learning the Long Beach white nationalist rally might be canceled, Domingo and the informant discussed other possible targets, including a rally in Huntington Beach or a summer attack on the Santa Monica Pier, according to the affidavit.
But on April 24, Domingo told the informant he was again focused on the Long Beach rally, which ended up only drawing demonstrators against white nationalism, the affidavit alleges.
Federal officials said Domingo was arrested April 26 after an undercover officer and the informant delivered inert devices to Domingo, who believed they were actual explosive devices. The group also traveled to Bluff Park where the rally was planned so they could conduct surveillance and determine where to place the devices to cause the most injuries.
“During the drive (to the park), Domingo said the plan was to arrive early in the morning before too many people showed up for the rally and disguise themselves as counter-protesters,” according to the affidavit. “As Domingo drove past the Port of Long Beach, Domingo told (the informant and undercover officer) that if they survived the attack on Sunday, they could conduct further attacks, including at the Long Beach Port, which Domingo said would significantly disrupt the U.S. economy. Domingo also discussed initiating an attack on a train.”
While they were at Bluff Park, Domingo said “they should try to find the most crowded areas in order to kill the most people in the attack,” according to the affidavit.
Support our journalism.
Hyperlocal news is an essential force in our democracy, but it costs money to keep an organization like this one alive, and we can’t rely on advertiser support alone. That’s why we’re asking readers like you to support our independent, fact-based journalism. We know you like it—that’s why you’re here. Help us keep hyperlocal news alive in Long Beach.