FRISCO, Texas - A 17-year-old student has been arrested and accused of planning an ISIS-inspired mass shooting spree at a North Texas mall.
Federal investigators said Matin Azizi-Yarand, a student at Plano West High School, was planning to attack Stonebriar Centre in Frisco later this month. He was arrested on campus on Tuesday. The district notified parents by email Wednesday.
According to his arrest warrant affidavit, he sent more than $1,400 to others to buy weapons and tactical gear -- but he said he’s never shot a gun before. He allegedly wrote a plan to spread his “Message to America” to explain the reason for his attack.
“This is a message for America and any other country that is fighting Islam and slaughtering the Muslims with their fighter jets and other such weaponry,” the message said in part.
Azizi-Yarand discussed his deadly plans with a confidential FBI source. He talked about the number of people he could kill by simply firing into the crowd and possibly setting stores on fire, according to the affidavit.
"I'd actually like to make a cop surrender and drop his gun // Then douse him with gasoline and burn him // record it," the affidavit states Azizi-Yarand said.
The arrest affidavit says that at one point Azizi-Yarand thought about carrying out the mass shooting at a school before changing his plans to the mall.
“School is a perfect place for an attack,” he said according to the affidavit. “Even a blind man could take 10 easily. Just fire where you hear screams."
The FBI source tipped off federal investigators, who worked with police in Frisco and Plano to make the arrest.
Azizi-Yarand faces charges for the criminal solicitation of capital murder and making a terroristic threat. If convicted, he could be sentenced to up to life in prison.
In a jailhouse interview, Azizi-Yarand spoke exclusively with FOX 4. He responded to most of the questions with "no comment."
“What are your thoughts on these charges against you?” asked FOX 4 Reporter James Rose.
“They seem a bit extreme, yeah,” the 17-year-old said.
When Azizi-Yarand was asked if he considered himself an ISIS sympathizer, he said “no comment.” It was his same reply when asked about the manifesto he allegedly wrote.
Azizi-Yarand: "No comment. Because whatever I say here can be used against me and stuff.”
Rose: "Why did you agree to do an interview?"
Azizi-Yarand: "I don't know. I guess to see what it was going to be like.”
Rose: “Is there a message that you would like to say?"
Azizi-Yarand: “Ugh, to who?”
Rose: "Well, we're going to broadcast it. You know that you're charged with a very serious crime. What do you say about that?"
Azizi-Yarand: “No comment on that."
And while the suspect did not explain much about what is in the police documents, he did eventually deny planning to carry out an attack.
Rose: "You agreed to do an interview. I thought you wanted to tell us your side.”
Azizi-Yarand: "Just keep asking."
Rose: “Okay. Did you plan on carrying out an attack at the Stonebriar Center Mall?"
Rose: "You did not?"
"The facts of this case, though alarming, serve as an example of the power of cooperation and the importance of each individual remaining vigilant in the spirit of 'see something-say something,'" said Frisco Police Chief John W. Bruce.
"Sadly, we have heard a lot about terrorism in the media, and it has become a concern in our lives. This case exemplifies the wide reach terrorist groups have through social media and other means to radicalize others in communities across our country," said Plano Police Chief Gregory W. Rushin.
FOX 4 tried to reach family members, but they did not want to comment. It's unclear who might be representing him as an attorney at this time.
Azizi-Yarand is being held on bonds that total $3 million.