The FBI has arrested a white supremacist who allegedly planned to carry out a Dylann Roof-style massacre against a South Carolina synagogue.
Local news station WMBF reports that law enforcement officials on Wednesday apprehended a 29-year-old man named Benjamin Thomas Samuel McDowell, who bought a gun from an undercover FBI agent that he allegedly planned to use in an attack against the Temple Emanu-El Conservative Synagogue in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
According to the FBI, McDowell telegraphed his intentions to attack the synagogue during a series of anti-Semitic Facebook posts in which he expressed his desire to carry out a massacre against it “in the spirit of Dylann Roof.”
In January, McDowell told the undercover FBI agent that he wanted to attack a synagogue, but worried that he didn’t have the proper training to handle it as efficiently as Roof did when he murdered nine people at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C.
“I got the heart to do that sh*t, but I don’t have to the good training,” he allegedly said. “If I could do something on a f*cking big scale and write on the f*cking building or whatever, ‘In the spirit of Dylann Roof.’”
While McDowell didn’t tell the agent about any specific building that he wanted to attack, he did post a link to the synagogue’s website on Facebook in late December, which led officers to believe that it was a prime potential target.
On Wednesday, agents arrested McDowell after spotting him “holding a bag in the parking lot of the Hampton Inn in Myrtle Beach.” Agents found him in possession of the handgun and ammo sold to him by the undercover agent, as well as a marijuana cigarette and a cell phone.