Officials: SC teen planned attack on military base, joining ISIS - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

Officials: SC teen planned attack on military base, joining ISIS

YORK COUNTY, SC (WBTV) - A South Carolina teenager plead guilty to gun charges after officials say he plotted to attack a US military base in hopes of joining ISIS.

"It wasn't like some fantasy he was acting out and then was nothing to bear out," says 16th Circuit Solicitor Kevin Brackett. "This was a legitimate and sincere desire and effort on his part to accomplish these things."

The 16-year-old boy, whose name is not being released, lived in York County but his family is originally from Syria.

York County Solicitor Brackett says the teen was communicating with another person in North Carolina through social media and text messages.

York Police initially went to the teen's home in February after getting reports that he had a pistol, which is illegal for a minor in South Carolina. When they executed the search warrant, they found the firearm, ammunition and a rifle.

The teen initially told investigators that he had the gun to protect his family since his father's passing. He later admitted that the story was made up.

Brackett says the teen told investigators that he and the person from North Carolina were planning to rob a gun store in NC and steal guns and ammunition. The pair then planned to attack a military installation in retaliation for military air strikes on ISIS.

They then planned to leave for Syria, where the teen has been several times, to join the organization.

During the search of the teen's home, investigators say they found an ISIS flag in his bedroom.

Authorities said the investigation shows he was involved in "some radical Islamic activities" and associated with people in "radical Islamic groups." They say the teen had expressed some of these thoughts publicly for a while, but no one came forward.

Solicitor Brackett says "to me, the biggest concern I had - he was very sincere and earnest in his expressions of his desire to join ISIS, go to Syria and wage Jihad."

It is not clear what the person from North Carolina's ties, if any, are to ISIS. Investigators have not named the North Carolina man.

Officials say it was an "active conspiracy."

Tuesday, the 16-year-old pleaded guilty in family court to possession of a pistol by a minor, which is the only law that he broke in South Carolina.

He was sentenced to be held by the Department of Juvenile Justice and was to attend counseling.

Brackett says the teen, in court, said he had changed his ways and no long believed the ideas he held before, but Brackett is skeptical. He says the teen appeared to hold the ideas fairly closely when he was first interviewed about them.

He says the teen's family was concerned about his behavior, but says the family is a good family and had no plans to join the teen.

Brackett says the case illustrates "how many people are out there like that."

Brackett told reporters the 16 year old "had been expressing these thoughts publicly for some time and other people knew what he saying. Nobody came forward and said hey this guy is talking unusual."

"It just demonstrates that every community in America has to be careful about Jihad or radical ideology or religious groups," York Mayor Eddie Lee says. "I've been Mayor almost since 9-11.. every community, including this wonderful community needs to be vigilant about threats."

Mayor Lee says he was briefed about the case six weeks ago. He says he doesn't know the teen or his family. 

"It's sad. It's sad that a 16 year old boy is now going to go behind bars," the Mayor says. "Also, I'm reassured our local City of York detectives were able to find out about this."

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