JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A man living in Jacksonville, Florida, was arrested after investigators say he planned a mass shooting at an Islamic Center.
Bernandino Bolatete, 69, is facing a federal charge for possessing a silencer not registered to him, according to officials.
Officials began investigating Bolatete in late October after a confidential source said he was planning an attack on the Islamic Center, Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams said.
An undercover officer got in contact with Bolatete and federal and state investigators were notified, Williams said.
#SilencerArrest - Bernardino Gawala Bolatete, 69 years old asked for assistance in purchasing a firearms silencer from an undercover #JSO detective specifically not wanting paperwork associated with the sale. #JSO #JAX— Jax Sheriff's Office (@JSOPIO) December 4, 2017
A criminal complaint says Bolatete and the undercover officer went to shooting ranges together several times during the investigation.
During those meetings, Bolatete expressed hatred for Muslims and made threats to shoot up the mosque several times, officials say.
During one meeting, Bolatete told the officer that he used to be a "range master" at a shooting range in the Philippines, according to the criminal complaint.
He told the undercover officer that a police officer in the Philippines shot him during an argument over a parking spot. Bolatete said he shot and killed the officer, according to the report.
At one of the meetings, he told the officer he did not plan to survive the attack.
The criminal complaint says Bolatete told the officer, "I just want to give these freaking people a taste of their own medicine, you know? They are the ones who are always doing these shootings, the killings."
Bolatete was arrested Dec. 1 after officials say he asked the undercover officer for help in purchasing a firearms silencer.
He said he did not want paperwork associated with the sale, according to officials.
Bolatete has a green card and is a Philippines national, an FBI spokesperson said.
FBI officials said that no one at the Islamic Center of Northeast Florida was at risk at any time during the investigation.
A civil rights investigation is underway and Bolatete could face more charges, FBI officials said.
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