Florida man arrested in connection to bomb plot at KC 9/11 memor - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Florida man arrested in connection to bomb plot at KC 9/11 memorial


A Florida man has been arrested in connection to a bomb plot at an upcoming Kansas City Sept. 11 memorial.

The man allegedly provided directions on how to build a pressure-cooker bomb that would kill as many people as possible at Sunday's event in downtown Kansas City.

United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley III said Joshua Ryne Goldberg, 20, of Orange Park, FL, was arrested for distributing information relating to explosives, destructive devices, and weapons of mass destruction. He could face up to 20 years in federal prison. Bentley is based in central Florida and Goldberg was arrested Wednesday at his home.

One online message from Goldberg to the FBI informant said "Where will the most people be in Kansas City on 9/11?  That's where we need to target." He goes on to say, "I found the perfect place.  Go to kansascitystairclimb.com." The confidential informant replies "Yes that's perfect I'm looking at it."

"Get FAR away from the bomb, brother," Goldberg later allegedly to the informant. "There's going to be chaos when it goes off. Shrapnel, blood and panicking (expletive for non-Muslims) will be everywhere."

According to the criminal complaint, Goldberg this year began communicating with the confidential informant who claims he was a student who lives about an hour west of Kansas City. Because the informant lived so close to Kansas City and a major Sept. 11 memorial event was planned, Goldberg settled on this year's Kansas City Memorial Stair Climb as the event to target where there would be the most people.

Between July and September, Goldberg gave the Kansas man information on how to make a bomb, specifically how to make a pressure cooker bomb and fill it with nails, metal, screws, glass and other items dipped in rat poison.

"If you can, dip the screws and other shrapnel in rat poison before putting them in," Goldberg allegedly wrote to the Kansas man via Twitter. "That way, the (expletive) who get hit by them will be more likely to die."

A pressure cooker bomb is the type of explosive that was used at the Boston Marathon bombing in April 2013. Three people died in that attack and more than 200 were hurt.  

The annual stair climb, which is held at Town Pavilion at East 11th and Main streets, commemorates the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

According to the event's website, "343 Firefighters will embark on a 110 story climb to the top of the Town Pavilion high rise in downtown Kansas City in remembrance of the 343 firefighters killed on 9-11-2001. Firefighters will climb in honor of one FDNY firefighter as they make their way to the top with a team of other firefighters. The overall cause it to raise donations for fallen firefighters and remember the fallen."

"We're finishing the climb for them. Those guys went and did some hard work that day and they never came home to their wife and kids," said Dave Bova, the event’s coordinator and a Lawrence, KS, firefighter. "My reaction was that this is an ongoing investigation there's nothing to worry about at this time."

Investigators say this is part of a Twitter exchange where the suspect says "Alright so will you be able to drive to Kansas City to carry out the attack?" The confidential informant replies with "Yes Easily".

"It's definitely concerning, but we're continuing on and we will hold this event and we will honor those men that died that day," Bova said.

Federal officials say Goldberg was under surveillance for weeks and wasn't aware that he was talking to a confidential informant.

In addition, Goldberg allegedly claimed to be responsible for inspiring the May 3 attack on the Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest in Garland Texas. The two gunman were killed by police officers.

According to court documents, Goldberg using one of his Twitter handles called for attacks on the contest in advance of the event. Goldberg allegedly posted a map of where the event was to be held and urged anyone in the area to attack "with your weapons, bombs or knives."

He boasted that he was helping organize terror attacks in Australia and Los Angeles. Goldberg and the confidential informant initially discussed planting pipe bombs, but then decided a pressure cooker bomb "may be even better," according to court documents. Goldberg allegedly directed him to hide the bomb in backpack and do his best to ensure it wasn't detected before exploding. He also suggested filming the explosion so it could be shared on terrorist websites.

The arrest took Goldberg’s family by surprise.

“We have no information. There hasn't been any kind of pre-hearing or anything. They came and took Joshua today. That's all I can tell you,” said his father, Frank Goldberg.

Neighbors said dozens of undercover agents surrounded the family’s home in Orange Park, FL, with guns drawn. They said Goldberg stood emotionless and shirtless on the front porch when officers arrested him.

After his arrest, Goldberg initially denied any involvement. He allegedly admitted to calling for the Garland attack and provided information on how to build a pressure cooker bomb to detonate in Kansas City on Sunday.

"During the course of the interview, however, Joshua Goldberg made varying statements in an attempt to explain his actions in providing bomb-making information to the individual," according to court documents. "In general, Joshua Goldberg claimed that he intended for the individual to either kill himself creating or if not that intended to alert law enforcement just prior to the individual detonating the bomb resulting in Joshua Goldberg to receive credit for stopping the attack."

"He was a lost soul willing to engage in terrorist activities to fulfill his needs of feeling important," said retired FBI agent Michael Tabman after reviewing the 34-page complaint.

The FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force and the Clay County Sheriff's Office in Florida are investigating. The Kansas City Police Department declined comment, referring questions to the FBI. But Police Chief Darryl Forte did tweet his appreciation to the FBI and their investigation, writing “Once again an outstanding job by the FBI” along with a link to a news article about the arrest.

Click here to read the full 34 page criminal complaint.

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