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The FBI has arrested 19-year-old Seann Pietila of Michigan at his home on Friday night for an alleged plot to carry out a mass shooting at a synagogue in East Lansing.

Pietila was charged with transmitting in interstate commerce a threat to injure someone.


According to a criminal complaint filed by FBI Special Agent Ryan Roskey, quoted by The Hill, Pietila demonstrated through Instagram messages his neo-Nazi ideology, antisemitic beliefs, suicidal ideologies, praise of past mass shooters that have had similar ideologies and intent to copy their actions.

Pietila “specifically mentioned that he admires Brent Tarrant, who carried out mass shootings at mosques in New Zealand in 2019, killing more than 50 people,” according to the complaint.

Pietila also sent a message on his Instagram account saying a camera was needed for livestreaming, as Tarrant did during his attack. In another Instagram message, he allegedly said he planned to mimic “b.t’s” attack.”

The 19-year-old also had a Pinterest account that included posts with Nazi imagery and references to mass shooters.

During a search of Pietila’s home, FBI agents found a shotgun, rifle, pistol, ammunition, rifle magazines, multiple knives, firearm accessories, two tactical vests, a red and white Nazi flag, gas masks and survivor manuals.

Investigators found during a search of Pietila’s iPhone – which he consented to – a note referring to March 15, 2024, in connection with the East Lansing, Michigan synagogue, along with mentions of pipe bombs, Molotov cocktails and multiple firearms. He also allegedly planned to kill himself following the massacre.

March 15, 2024, would be the five-year anniversary of the attacks by New Zealand mass shooter Tarrant.


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.