A Reseda man was behind bars Monday on suspicion of plotting to carry out a domestic terrorism bombing at a white-nationalist rally in Long Beach that never materialized.
Mark Steven Domingo, 26, of Reseda, a former U.S. Army infantryman who served in Afghanistan, was arrested Friday after he received what he thought was a bomb but was actually an inert device supplied to him by an undercover law enforcement officer, federal officials said.
According to an FBI affidavit filed in federal court in Los Angeles, Domingo plotted during March and April “to manufacture and use a weapon of mass destruction in order to commit mass murder.”
Officials said Domingo referenced "retribution" for the New Zealand mosque attack that killed 50. he said there needed to be another "Las Vegas." They said he wanted to target "Jews, police officers, churches and a military facility."
“On April 23 and 24, 2019, Domingo purchased several hundred nails to be used as shrapnel inside an explosive device, and provided the nails to a person whom Domingo believed to be a collaborator, but who was in fact an undercover law enforcement officer working for the FBI, for the purpose of having the (officer) manufacture weapons of mass destruction for Domingo to use in an upcoming attack,” according to the affidavit.
According to the affidavit, Domingo made a series of online posts and had a series of discussions with an FBI informant describing “his support for violent jihad and his aspiration to conduct an attack in the Los Angeles area.”
One posting referenced the recent fatal attacks at mosques in New Zealand and said, “there must be retribution.”
Federal authorities contend Domingo considered a variety of targets — including police officers, churches and a military facility — but ultimately planned to set off an explosive device during what was anticipated to be a white nationalist rally at a Long Beach park on Sunday. The rally never actually materialized, although a number of counter-protesters showed up in anticipation of the gathering.
Reseda neighbor Nataly Lopez, 24, said it was "scary" to find out her neighbor was arrested on suspicion of plotting to carrying out a domestic terrorism bombing during a rally in Long Beach. Story soon @ladailynews
Federal officials said Domingo was arrested Friday night after an undercover officer delivered inert devices to Domingo, who believed they were actual explosive devices, and the pair traveled to the Long Beach park where the rally was anticipated to conduct surveillance.
Domingo is expected to appear in federal court in downtown Los Angeles Monday afternoon on charges of providing and attempting to provide material support to terrorists.
At an afternoon news conference, federal officials said Domingo had no known co-conspirators, and there is no lingering threat to the public from the plot.
Hundreds came to Bluff Park in Long Beach on Sunday, to show opposition to an event that groups on social media said had “white nationalist” ties. Warnings of a white nationalist rally first surfaced in March, when a right-wing Facebook group called United Patriot National Front created an event called “Freedom’s Safest Place.”
The Facebook group, which has since changed its name to Everything Patriot and Tactical, describes itself as “a page for freedom-loving Americans.”
But the event was deleted after community groups, particularly the Long Beach United Anti-Racist Neighborhood Front, built opposition to the rally. A counter protest organized by that group and others, called “No White Nationalism in Long Beach!” was scheduled for the same day.
For the past few weeks leading up to the event, social media posts promoted the counter protest, in addition to fliers throughout the city.
While many attended the counter protest at Bluff Park, there was no visible presence of members of the “Freedom’s Safest Place” event. The counter protest was relatively peaceful, with a strong presence by the Long Beach Police Department.
The department made their presence known by vehicle, bicycle and helicopter patrols. Parking on Ocean Boulevard — which Bluff Park runs parallel with — was prohibited for the majority of the day.
The arrest “took a highly dangerous person off the street who wanted to cause enormous harm to Long Beach and our community,” Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia said in a statement released Monday by the city. “We take every threat seriously and I’m incredibly thankful for the work of the Long Beach Police Department and our law enforcement partners, especially the Los Angeles Police Department and the FBI.”
City News Service contributed to this report.