KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Federal prosecutors have charged a 20-year-old Kansas man with planning a suicide bomb attack against Fort Riley in an alleged plot to support the Islamic State group.
John T. Booker of Topeka was charged Friday with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, attempting to damage property by means of an explosive and attempting to provide material support to the terrorist group.
U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom says Booker, who was in the final stages of the bomb plot, was arrested Friday near Manhattan, Kansas, about 100 miles west of Kansas City. Grissom didn't elaborate on the arrest.
“Thanks to the efforts of the law enforcement community, we were able to safely disrupt this threat to the brave men and women who serve our country," Grissom said. "Protecting American lives by identifying and bringing to justice those who wish to harm U.S. citizens remains the National Security Division’s number one priority.”
On Friday evening, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced that a second man from Topeka was charged in connection with the plot. Alexander E. Blair, 28, was charged with one count of failing to report a felony. According to the attorney's office, Blair knew about the plot and shared some of Booker's extremist views. It's alleged he loaned Booker money to rent a storage unit to store bomb making materials. He faces three years in federal prison if convicted.
Despite the plot to "kill as many as soldiers as possible," a FBI agent says there was no breach at the military base.
“The investigation is ongoing and today’s arrest serves as a reminder that even here in America’s heartland we must remain vigilant against threats to our nation,” Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback said in a press release.
FOX 4 spoke with John Booker, Jr.’s father, John Sr., who said he does not have much contact with his son since he moved out of their house last year.
"He grew up as a normal kid. He was an ROTC member and stuff like that,” the dad said.
However, the elder Booker did say he spoke with his son on Thursday.
"Yesterday afternoon for a few minutes, see how I was doing,” he said.
Then he got another call, that his son had been arrested for a plot to detonate a suicide bomb at Ft. Riley. It is an alleged terror attack on the United States, which his father fought for when he was in the military.
“But he left outside the house, he moved on his own and that's all we know,” the dad said.
Booker has allegedly been planning the attack since March. Officials said he intended to detonate a vehicle bomb at the base.
Booker allegedly said Fort Riley was a good target “because the post is famous and there are a lot of soldiers stationed there."
According to Grissom, Booker allegedly said he was planning a suicide bomb because the evidence would be destroyed and he would die a martyr.
Booker also allegedly created a video to be played after his death. He warned Americans to get their loved ones out of the military because “the Islamic State is coming for them. From inside, whether it be in their homes, whether it be on a base like this, whether it be in the recruiting stations, whether it be in the streets.”
Booker made his initial court appearance on Friday and waived his right to a detention hearing. He's now in custody of U.S. Marshals and will be represented by a federal public defender.
Booker could face a maximum of life in prison if convicted.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this story.