Local, state and federal authorities said Monday they thwarted a mass shooting at a Jacksonville, FL, mosque and arrested a 69-year-old Filipino immigrant who they say had obtained a rifle suppressor from an undercover officer in the parking lot of a local sporting goods store.
Bernandino Gawala Bolatete is charged with knowingly receiving and possessing a suppressor not registered to him in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, according the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams said detectives learned of the mass shooting threat in late October and started to build a case against Bolatete.
“The investigation confirmed that the suspect was making plans to carry out a mass shooting, and he already had the weaponry necessary to complete the attack,” Williams said.
The investigation started when the Sheriff’s Office received a tip from a citizen that Bolatete “expressed a hatred for Muslims and made a specific threat to ‘shoot up’ a mosque,” according to the complaint.
The Sheriff’s Office worked with the FBI, Florida Department of Law Enforcement and other agencies throughout the investigation, the Florida Times-Union reports.