Milwaukee resident Samy Mohammed Hamzeh has been charged with possessing automatic weapons and a suppressor, according to a statement by FBI officials on January 26. In a criminal complaint, the 23-year-old Muslim has been under scrutiny since September 2015. Detectives claim that he planned to fly to Jordan to then enter the West Bank area in order to kill Israelis living there. However, Hamzeh dropped these plans in order to prepare for an attack on the country of his residence.
The criminal complaint alleged that Hamzeh had long-term conversations with two confidential sources (CS-1 and CS-2). The conversations were in Arabic and were translated by the FBI as of October 2015. It was during those exchanges that Hamzeh proposed to attack a Masonic temple in Milwaukee.
On January 16, Hamzeh accompanied CS-1 and CS-2 to a shooting range, and then participated in a guided tour of the temple. It was then that he learned about the schedule of meetings and the location of possible victims at the temple. Hamzeh was recorded as he talked over his plans with CS-1 and CS-2. Hamzeh reiterated his plan to carry out an armed attack on the temple and discussed plans.
Hamzeh said that the group would need two more automatic weapons, having noted that one of the confidential sources already had one. They would also need silencers, said Hamzeh. Here follows a transcript of the discussions:
“We want two machine guns, you now have one, so we want two more, and we need three silencers, that’s it. Find out how much all together these will cost, and then we will march.”
“We want two, like the machine gun you have. . . . And we need silencers. . . . Three, yes three silencers, and that’s it.”
“. . . each one has a weapon, each one has a silencer gun, the operation will be one hundred percent successful. I am telling you, to go without silencer gun, you will be exposed from the beginning.”
Hamzeh told the confidential sources that once the attack were to take place, one of them would guard the front door while the others would go upstairs to finish off anyone else they found there:
“One of us will stay at the door at the entrance and lock the door down, he will be at the main door down, two will get to the lift up, they will enter the room, and spray everyone in the room. The one who is standing downstairs will spray anyone he finds. We will shoot them, kill them and get out. We will walk and walk, after a while, we will be covered as if it is cold, and we’ll take the covers off and dump them in a corner and keep on walking, as if nothing happened, as if everything is normal. But one has to stand on the door, because if no one stood at the door, people will be going in and out, if people came in from outside and found out what is going on, everything is busted.”
“As long as the one on the door understands he has bigger responsibility than the others. For your information, he has to take care of everyone around him, the comers and the one that wants to go, he has to annihilate everyone, there is no one left, I mean when we go into a room, we will be killing everyone, that’s it, this is our duty, as for the one at the door, he must have 20/20 eye vision and always alert for all the traffic around him.”
“I am telling you, as I was saying, all three of us get in together, one will go, to the one that is staying at the reception . . . . If she was alone, it is okay, if there were two of them, shoot both of them, do not let the blood show, shoot her from the bottom, two or three shots in her stomach and let her sit on the chair and push her to the front, as if she is sleeping, did you understand? Then stay downstairs, the other two will take the lift to the third floor, go directly to the room, open the door, shoot everyone, move fast even avoiding the lift and take the stairs running down. . . . Using the stairs, the third one on the door will notice us coming down, we will go out together. No one sees anything and no one knows anything. We leave, as if there is nothing, no running, no panic, just regular walking. We’ll get three head covers with three holes in them. . . . we’ll get in all three of us together, the minute we get in, we shoot whoever is in front of us, and all have to be eliminated. One stays down and two will go up quickly.
“And we will eliminate everyone.”
Hamzeh also explained what his objectives were in committing the attack:
“I am telling you, if this hit is executed, it will be known all over the world. . . . Sure, all over the world, all the Mujahedeen will be talking and they will be proud of us. . . such operations will increase in America, when they hear about it. The people will be scared and the operations will increase, and there will be problems all over, because more than one problem took place, and this will be the third problem, this will lead to people clashing with each other. This way we will be igniting it. I mean we are marching at the front of the war.”
“They are all Masonic; they are playing with the world like a game, man, and we are like asses, we don’t know what is going on, these are the ones who are fighting, these are the ones that needs to be killed, not the Shi’iat, because these are the ones who are against us, these are the ones who are making living for us like hell.”
“Thirty is excellent. If I got out, after killing thirty people, I will be happy 100%. . . . 100% happy, because these 30 will terrify the world.”
Hamzeh planned to purchase the weapons and silencers from the confidential sources who, unbeknownst to the accused, were undercover FBI agents. During a January 25 meeting the undercover government agents showed the guns and silencer to Hamzeh, telling him that they were capable of automatic fire and explained how to use the selector switch. The accused handed over the money for the weapons to the agents, who gave him a bag containing the weapons. Once he put the goods in the trunk of his car, FBI agents descended on him and charged him will illegal possession of firearms.
In a press release, Acting United States Attorney Gregory Haanstad said, “Samy Mohammed Hamzeh devised a detailed plan to commit a mass shooting intended to kill dozens of people. He also said that he wanted this mass shooting to be ‘known the world over’ and to ‘ignite’ broader clashes. It is difficult to calculate the injury and loss of life that was prevented by concerned citizens coming forward and by the tireless efforts of the FBI and the Joint Terrorism Task Force.”