SANTA MONICA, Calif. (FOX 11) - A San Fernando Valley man arrested in connection with an alleged domestic terror plot discussed targeting the Santa Monica Pier during the summer because it would "provide a better space for the attack," according to a criminal complaint.
Mark Steven Domingo, 26, of Reseda, a former U.S. Army infantryman with combat experience in Afghanistan, faces federal charges in a terrorist plot in which he planned to detonate an improvised explosive device (IED) for the purpose of causing mass casualties.
According to the criminal complaint, Domingo suggested targetting the Santa Monica Pier because "it was a more enclosed space and people would not be able to escape from a blast," the complaint reads.
It goes on to state that Domingo said that detonating an IED with a timer on the pier would "cause a lot of casualties."
As part of the plot, Domingo asked his confederate – who actually was cooperating with the FBI as part of the investigation – to find a bomb-maker, and Domingo last week purchased several hundred nails to be used as shrapnel inside the IED.
“Domingo said he specifically bought three-inch nails because they would be long enough to penetrate the human body and puncture internal organs,” the affidavit states.
The complaint states that Domingo expressed concerns that the radius from the explosion would extend beyond 100 feet. He then allegedly stated that if they conducted the attack at the Santa Monica Pier, he would remain on the pier and detonate the IED himself because he "was not afraid to die a martyr," the complaint reads.
According to federal authorities, Domingo showed the confidential FBI source a map of the Santa Monica Pier and even pointed out locations where they could stand near the entrance of the pier.
“I’m extremely glad to be announcing that we interdicted a potential terrorist attack, rather than outlining the FBI’s response to yet another tragedy,” said Paul Delacourt, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office. “At no time was the public in danger and there is currently no known threat to public safety. I’m very proud of the agents and officers assigned to the Joint Terrorism Task Force who diligently marshaled the resources of our law enforcement partners in a short period of time and in doing so, ensured the safety of Southern California residents.”
Domingo was arrested on Friday after he received what he thought was a live bomb, but in fact, was an inert explosive device that was delivered by an undercover law enforcement officer as part of an investigation by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. He is expected to be arraigned Monday afternoon.