GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – A Grand Rapids man is facing federal charges after authorities say he became obsessed with perpetrators of mass murder.
The 24-year-old is charged with making false statements to the FBI after investigators say he tried multiple times to buy a gun. He came to the attention of federal authorities while trying to cross into Canada from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Border patrol agents allegedly found a notebook in his possession that contained handwritten notes of a checklist of components needed to build an explosive device. The list was apparently taken directly from an online article published by Al Qaeda.
According to charges filed last week, the man made frequent online searches about “mass murder, terrorism and mass shootings” and told agents during one interview that he sympathized with those who committed mass murders. Agents allegedly found partially-built explosive devices in the man’s room.
In 2018, the man tried to buy firearms at several West Michigan gun stores, but because the FBI had put the man’s names into the national background check system, he was delayed several times while trying to make a purchase.
The man was eventually admitted to a psychiatric hospital for treatment, but was eventually ordered in probate court to not possess any sort of firearm. On April 18, he allegedly drove to Ann Arbor where he rented an AR-15 rifle, bought 100 rounds of ammunition and took a class on using the firearm. The FBI met him in Ann Arbor and took him in custody for violating the probate court order.
Authorities say he lied to agents about his intentions at the gun store and that is the basis of the charges filed.