Police officers in Frisco, Texas, are stepping up their presence at a popular shopping mall that was recently the alleged target of a thwarted terror plot.
Breitbart Texas reported that authorities arrested 17-year-old Matin Azizi-Yarand on May 2 and charged him with making a terroristic threat and the criminal solicitation of capital murder. He stands accused of masterminding and attempting an Islamic State-inspired attack on the Stonebriar Centre mall in Frisco, a suburb north of Dallas.
The teenage suspect intended to carry out a mass shooting in mid-May during Ramadan to limit the number of Muslim casualties, according to police documents. In the United States, the month-long Muslim holiday begins on the evening of May 15.
Although federal and state law enforcement agents foiled the potential plot, mall shoppers will likely see increased security. Frisco police officers will patrol the property including around exterior building perimeters and possibly even, inside the mall, according to NBCDFW. It is not clear how long the beefed up police presence will continue.
“We do not normally assign officers to the mall,” commented Sergeant Jeff Inmon, spokesman for the Frisco Police Department, in a written statement Thursday. “In light of the recent investigation, on duty patrol officers have made it a point to patrol closer to the mall, and conduct foot patrol in the mall when they are available.”
Inmon confirmed to the Dallas NBC affiliate: “There has been an increased presence at the mall and there are officers that are already on duty.”
Purportedly, Azizi-Yarand conspired online for several months with three individuals, one who turned out to be an undercover federal agent and two others who were FBI confidential sources, according to the arrest affidavit. During that time, the suspect divulged he wanted to conduct a terror attack, learned the mall’s layout, and had been observing patrons as well as onsite security.
The teenager conveyed his desire to “make a cop surrender and drop his gun, then douse him with gasoline and burn him” and record the incident. Additionally, Azizi-Yarand said he wanted to cause financial damage, set stores on fire, and take hostages. He contemplated other possible terror targets such as a school or a Hindu temple but, ultimately, decided on this mall.
Azizi-Yarand apparently authored and planned to release a “Message to America” manifesto which detailed his reasons for the attack, as Breitbart Texas previously reported.
The suspect lived with his parents in neighboring Plano where he attended high school. Currently, he remains in custody at Collin County Jail on $3 million bond. Under Texas law, Azizi-Yarand will be tried as an adult. If found guilty, he could face up to life in prison for the criminal solicitation charge and up to 10 years for making a terroristic threat.
Stonebriar Centre opened on August 4, 2000. The 1.6 million square foot mall attracts millions of visitors each year and is highly trafficked by locals in and around the area for its shops, eateries, entertainment, and movie theatres. It occupies one square mile of one of the most concentrated retail sectors in the southwestern United States, according to a 2010 report by The Dallas Morning News. The mall is roughly a mile southeast of The Star, the 91-acre $1.5 billion campus that houses the Dallas Cowboys’ world headquarters, offices, entertainment, retail, and lodging.
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