PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The FBI arrested 21-year-old Syrian refugee Mustafa Alowemer on terrorism charges after he allegedly planned to attack the Legacy International Worship Center on the North Side.
“It was actually, like, really scary because I have a lot of younger siblings who live in the house down the street, and if this were to actually go through and happen, that would have been more detrimental than I could ever imagine,” said Steven Bermudez, one of the people in the same neighborhood as the church that Alowemer was targeting.
Michael Day, the pastor of the church, found out about the plot Wednesday afternoon as well.
“It’s devastating, but that’s the time we live in,” he said. “I am grateful that nothing did happen, and I’m grateful that we’re able to show that God covered us and protected us and that people are still alive and people are able to hug their children and loved ones.”
Despite the plot, Day does not have plans to break up his place of worship.
“Our ministry is still here to serve if they even need to be comforted in the moment of, they were a part of this,” he added.
According to authorities, Alowemer was a graduate of Brashear High School and came to the United States as a refugee in 2016.
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The FBI also said the plot was inspired by ISIS as an act of revenge to “take revenge for our brothers in Nigeria.”
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Agents were made aware of the attack through social media activity of Alowemer.
He is facing one count of attempting to provide material support and resources to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and two counts of distributing information relating to an explosive, destructive device or weapon of mass destruction.