TOLEDO, Ohio — An Ohio man who plotted an attack at a synagogue was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Monday, according to the Department of Justice.
Damon Joseph, also known as Abdullah Ali Yusuf, of Holland, pleaded guilty in May 2021 to attempting to provide material support for the Islamic State terrorist group and attempting to commit a hate crime.
The DOJ says Joseph drew the attention of law enforcement in 2018 by posting photographs of weapons and various messages in support of ISIS on his social media accounts, including a photo distributed by the media wing of the terrorist group.
Joseph planned to carry out the attack at a Toledo synagogue where he hoped to cause mass casualties by selecting a time when multiple people would be present.
“The defendant planned to cause significant harm to members of the Toledo, Ohio, Jewish community by carrying out a violent federal hate crime,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “This sentence should send a strong message that those who target people with violence because of their religion, will be held to account. The Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division will continue to vigorously investigate and prosecute individuals who use violence to attack our religious communities.”
In addition to the prison sentence, Joseph will have a lifetime term of supervised release for attempting to support ISIS through violent attacks on Jewish congregants.
Starting in September 2018, the 23-year-old man talked with several undercover FBI agents where he said he supported ISIS, according to the DOJ.
Weeks later, the DOJ says Joseph told an undercover agent that he wanted to participate in an attack on behalf of ISIS.
In December, Joseph met with an undercover FBI agent and discussed conducting a mass shooting at a synagogue, selecting two in the Toledo area.
Joseph wrote notes about wanting AR15s and AK47s, Glock handguns and ammo and gave them to the agent.
Later, the undercover agent told Joseph he purchased the rifles for the attack. The two met on Dec. 7 where Joseph took a black duffel bag containing the two rifles, which were made inoperable by law enforcement officers so there wasn't any danger to the public.
Joseph was arrested shortly after.