(VitalNews.org) – A Michigan man has been arrested and charged for sending a communication in which he planned to commit mass murder at an East Lansing Synagogue. Seann Patrick Pietila, a 19-year-old from the township of Pickford in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, allegedly shared details of his planned attack over social media. After being arrested by FBI agents, Pietila admitted to being behind the Instagram account “finnishv64” which made numerous posts alluding to suicidal ideations, antisemitism, and the lionization of previous mass murderers with similar extremist beliefs.
He reportedly told authorities that he intended to kill himself with a shotgun and had left a virtual suicide note on his smartphone. Upon searching Pietila’s phone, investigators found a note detailing various weapons, including guns and pipe bombs, as well as naming Shaarey Zedek, a nearby synagogue in East Lansing. The note also referenced a date, March 15th, 2024, believed to be a reference to the infamous Christchurch massacre of March 15th, 2019, in which Brenton Tarrant slaughtered 51 people in attendance at two mosques in New Zealand.
When searching Pietila’s home, FBI agents found Nazi paraphernalia, knives, firearms, ammunition, a ghillie suit, and skull masks. Pietila’s mother has since claimed that her son would never have hurt anybody, that he needed mental health treatment, and that he simply made the mistake of saying unpleasant things online. Brittany Stobb told ABC News that not only was her son not violent but that he did not own any firearms. She said that any of the tactical gear and firearms that authorities found in his home actually belonged to Stobb and her husband.
Stobb has two handguns registered to her: a Sig Sauer .40mm caliber, and a Springfield 9mm. The firearms recovered from Pietila’s home include a Sig Sauer .40mm, a 12-gauge shotgun, and a .22 caliber rifle. Pietila has no firearms registered under his own name.
If convicted of sending communication threatening to cause injury to others, he may receive a sentence of up to 5 years in prison.
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