Law enforcement officers in Jacksonville, Florida, may have prevented another horrific mass shooting and heinous hate crime.
According to News 4 JAX, 69-year-old Bernandino Bolatete had his home raided after he was suspected of having plans to carry out a mass shooting at a mosque. Inside his home, law enforcement officers found 12 guns with thousands of rounds of ammunition.
A dozen guns and more than 2,000 rounds of ammunition were seized during a raid of the home of the man accused of planning a mass shooting of the Islamic Center of Northeast Florida, federal prosecutors told the judge at Bernandino Bolatete’s bond hearing on Tuesday.
That was among the evidence presented Tuesday at the U.S. District Courthouse in Jacksonville on the gun charge the 69-year-old man is facing. Prosecutors also discussed recorded conversations with an undercover detective in which Bolatete discussed his hatred for Muslims and his plans to shoot up the mosque.
The article also states that a neighbor of Bolatete’s was the person to tip-off authorities, a perfect example of “See something, say something.” According to Bolatete’s neighbor, Bolatete is struggling with his health and commented that he would prefer to shoot up a mosque and take his own life rather than seek medical treatment.
News 4 JAX reported, “A citizen who tipped off authorities to Bolatete’s plan said the man said he had kidney problems and would rather shoot up the mosque and take his own life than go on dialysis.”
The number of guns and amount of ammunition found in Bolatete’s home is reminiscent of the number of weapons and amount of ammo that the mass shooter in the Las Vegas shooting had in his hotel room. The Las Vegas massacre is now the worst mass shooting in the history of the United States.
Bolatete and his brother immigrated to the United States from the Philippines eight years ago and Bolatete was referred to as a “gun aficionado” by his brother, who also stated Bolatete would never hurt anyone. However, what Bolatete told an undercover detective appears to undermine his brother’s defense of his character.
According to the indictment, after the undercover operative sold Bolatete a suppressor for $100 last week, he was arrested on a federal weapons violation. At this point, that is the only criminal charge against him, but it carries a maximum penalty to up to 10 years in prison.
In a transcript of the conversations included in the criminal complaint, Bolatete said he had five rifles, one of which was an AR-15 that can be converted to into an AR-47. He suggested going to the Islamic center on a Friday because it is “their Sunday equivalent to us Christians is Friday … go up to the tower and start shooting, right? It will be great, right?”
When the plans were realized, law enforcement officials took the necessary steps to ensure the safety of the mosque.
This arrest comes after the worst mass shooting in U.S. history and the worst mass shooting in the state of Texas’s history, which has prompted partisan and bipartisan gun control legislation as well as calls to reform the National Instant Background Check System (NICS).
Bolatete, who reportedly goes by Nandie Bolatete on Facebook, can be seen here.