Rochester man charged with planning ISIS attack at bar on NYE
Rochester, N.Y. - A Rochester man has been arrested and charge with carrying out an attack in the name of ISIS on New Year's Eve.
Prosecutors said Emanuel Lutchman, 25, was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, a designated foreign terrorist organization.
The criminal complaint did not specify which Rochester-area bar or restaurant was the intended target. However, the owner of Merchants Grill says the FBI told him his bar was the target.
According to the criminal complaint, Lutchman was convicted in 2006 of second-degree robbery and served approximately five years in prison.
He was also arrested several times beforehand for mental hygiene arrests.
In November and December, Lutchman talked online and over the phone with an FBI informant and expressed his strong support for ISIS and/or ISIL.
Earlier this month, Lutchman told the informant that he had been in contact with someone who claimed to be an ISIS member in Syria and called being part of the organization a "dream come true."
During these conversations with the alleged ISIS member in Syria, Lutchman allegedly said he was arranging an operation with a "brother." On December 28, Lutchman allegedly met with another FBI informant and told him that the ISIS member he was talking with overseas told him an attack on New Year's Eve could help him get overseas to Syria.
Lutchman then discussed "doing assassinations and using a pressure cooker bomb," according to court paperwork. He suggested targeting a club or a bar by sneaking a bomb inside, then kidnapping a couple of people and killing them. He suggested wearing masks during the operation so he wouldn't be caught.
On December 29, Lutchman met with the second FBI informant at the WalMart on Hudson Ave and bought two black ski masks, zip ties, two knives, a machete, duct tape, ammonia and latex gloves.
On December 30, members of the Rochester JTTF arrested Lutchman and took him into custody.
"According to the complaint, as part of Emanuel Lutchman's attempt to provide material support to ISIL, he planned to kill innocent civilians on New Year's Eve in the name of the terrorist organization." said Assistant Attorney General Carlin. "Thankfully,law enforcement was able to intervene and thwart Lutchman's deadly plans."
"The FBI thwarted Emanuel Lutchman's intent to kill civilians on New Year's Eve," said Special Agent in Charge Cohen. "The FBI remains concerned about people overseas who use the Internet to inspire people in the United States to commit acts of violence where they live."
The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Lutchman made a first appearance Thursday morning in court and is due back in January.
The criminal complaint filed in federal is below.
Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a statement regarding Lutchman's arrest. You can find the whole statement below.
"The arrest of Emanuel Lutchman is an important reminder of the new normal of global terrorism. Today law enforcement did their job well - but the challenges we face have never been greater, and it is incumbent on every citizen to be diligent and responsible. I want to reassure all New Yorkers and our state's visitors that we are taking every precaution to keep people safe, and are in regular contact with our partners in both the federal government and local communities, statewide. I commend the Department of Justice as well as the FBI's Rochester area Joint Terrorism Task Force, including the State Police, for their hard work and diligence in preventing this possible attack."
U.S. Representative John Katko also released the following statement:
"Today's news that law enforcement has detected an ISIS-inspired terror plot right down the road in Rochester, NY reinforces that we face a real threat in combating ISIS. Keeping our community safe remains my top priority. As Chair of the House Homeland Security Committee's Foreign Fighter Task Force, I've worked to identify and examine the dangers that we face in combating ISIS. I will continue my efforts as Central New York's representative in Congress to prevent ISIS from continuing its online recruitment and radicalization, to ensure that local law enforcement is given the tools to detect and thwart attacks, and to eliminate this ever-evolving global threat."