Mass shooting by Filipino at Florida mosque thwarted

The Jakarta Post - - AEAN 50 -

Law en­force­ment au­thor­i­ties said they pre­vented a mass shooting at a Jacksonville mosque and ar­rested a 69-year-old Filipino im­mi­grant who al­legedly hated Mus­lims.

Po­lice charged Ber­nandino Gawala Bo­latete with hav­ing a si­lencer not reg­is­tered to him in the Na­tional Firearms Reg­is­tra­tion and Trans­fer Record but ob­tained from an un­der­cover of­fi­cer. The si­lencer was sold Dec. 1 in the park­ing lot of Academy Sports and Out­doors at 11901 At­lantic Blvd.

Bo­latete, a green card holder, was ar­rested at his home and faces up to 10 years in fed­eral prison if he is con­victed on the weapons charge.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion started in Oc­to­ber when the Sher­iff’s Of­fice re­ceived a tip that Bo­latete “ex­pressed a ha­tred for Mus­lims and made a spe­cific threat to ‘shoot up’ a mosque,” ac­cord­ing to the com­plaint.

The un­der­cover of­fi­cer recorded con­ver­sa­tions with Bo­latete on Nov. 10, Nov. 14, Nov. 20 and Nov. 24 and pro­vided them to the FBI as ev­i­dence, ac­cord­ing to the com­plaint, ac­cord­ing to jacksonville.com.

“If I ever de­cide to do that I’m not think­ing of get­ting caught,” Bo­latete said, ac­cord­ing to the tran­script. “I’ll […] I’ll die there in that area. [laugh­ter] They’ll be some sort of sui­cide thing […] sui­cide by po­lice?”

He ap­par­ently has only one kid­ney left and it was no longer func­tion­ing fully. Po­lice said this meant that Bo­latete did not ex­pect to sur­vive the in­tended mass shooting.

The com­plaint stated that Bo­latete had prac­ticed shooting with the un­der­cover of­fi­cer at a gun range. They also drove by the Is­lamic Cen­ter and he pointed out to the of­fi­cer the tower from which the mass shooting could be done. He told the of­fi­cer he had five guns, in­clud­ing an AR-15 that could be con­verted to an AR-47. He also said Mus­lims at­tended the mosque on Fri­days, so that would likely be the day of the at­tack.

The Sher­iff ’s Of­fice worked with the FBI, Florida De­part­ment of Law En­force­ment and other agen­cies through­out the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

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