LOS ANGELES (CNS) — A Reseda man is behind bars on suspicion of plotting to carrying out a domestic terrorism bombing during a white- nationalist rally in Long Beach that never materialized.
Mark Steven Domingo, 26, of Reseda, a former US Army infantryman who served in Afghanistan, was arrested Friday, April 26, after he received what he thought was a bomb, but was actually an inert device supplied to him by an undercover law enforcement officer, federal officials said.
According to a FBI affidavit filed in federal court in Los Angeles, Domingo plotted during March and April “to manufacture and use a weapon of mass destruction in order to commit mass murder.”
“On April 23 and 24, 2019, Domingo purchased several hundred nails to be used as shrapnel inside an explosive device, and provided the nails to a person whom Domingo believed to be a collaborator, but who was in fact an undercover law enforcement officer working for the FBI, for the purpose of having the (officer) manufacture weapons of mass destruction for Domingo to use in an upcoming attack,” according to the affidavit.
According to the affidavit, Domingo made a series of online posts and had a series of discussions with an FBI informant describing “his support for violent jihad and his aspiration to conduct an attack in the Los Angeles area.”
One posting referenced the recent fatal attacks at mosques in New Zealand and said “there must be retribution.”
In early March, he allegedly posted a video online professing his devotion to the Muslim faith, the affidavit states. The following day, he wrote online that “america needs another vegas event … something to kick off civil unrest … and its not about winning the civil war its about weakening america and giving them a taste of the terror they gladly spread all over the world.”
At his initial federal court appearance in downtown Los Angeles Monday afternoon, April 29, a magistrate judge denied Domingo bond and ordered him held pending trial. The defendant — who has waist-length hair and wore eyeglasses during his appearance — was ordered to return to court May 31 for arraignment.
In his unsuccessful argument for release on bond, Deputy Public Defender David Israel Wasserman denied that his client was a threat to the public and suggested rigorous pretrial supervision and home detention was adequate to ensure Domingo shows up for future court dates and does nothing illegal.
However, US Magistrate Judge Paul Abrams found that Domingo presents “a serious risk of danger.”
Federal authorities contend Domingo considered a variety of attack targets — including shooting police officers, churches and a military facility.
According to the federal affidavit, Domingo repeatedly met with a person he believed to be a co-conspirator but who was actually an FBI informant. During those meetings, Domingo allegedly discussed carrying out a mass-casualty attack and obtaining an explosive device and firearms to carry out the plan.
At one point, Domingo allegedly “drew a diagram and explained multiple scenarios for how he could attack police officers,” according to the affidavit.
But Domingo ultimately planned to set off an explosive device during what was anticipated to be a white nationalist rally at a Long Beach park on Sunday. The rally never actually materialized, although a number of counter-protesters showed up in anticipation of the gathering.
Domingo allegedly plotted with the informant to obtain an explosive device and purchased the 3-inch nails that he wanted to be planted inside a bomb to cause more extensive damage and injuries. After later learning the Long Beach rally might be canceled, Domingo and the informant discussed other possible targets, including a Saturday 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 expected Long Beach rally, the affidavit states.
Federal officials said Domingo was arrested Friday night after an undercover officer and the informant delivered inert devices to Domingo, who believed they were actual explosive devices. The group also traveled to the Long Beach park where the rally was planned so they could conduct surveillance and determine where to place the explosive device so it would cause the most injuries.
“During the drive (to the park), Domingo said the plan was to arrive early in the morning on Sunday, 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 US economy. Domingo also discussed initiating an attack on a train.”
While they were at Bluff Park in Long Beach, 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.
Domingo is facing charges of providing and attempting to provide material support to terrorists.
At an afternoon news conference, federal officials said Domingo had no known co-conspirators, and there is no lingering threat to the public from the plot.