The son of a Boston police captain has been arrested after his father alerted authorities that his son was planning to join the Islamic State group and set off bombs to show his support for the group. Alexander Ciccolo has been accused of plotting to detonate bombs made from pressure cookers at an unidentified university and to live stream the killings of students. On Tuesday, Ciccolo is scheduled to appear for a bail hearing in U.S. District Court in Springfield.
In a criminal complaint unsealed Monday, Ciccolo, 23, was charged with illegal possession of a firearm after receiving four guns from a person cooperating with the Western Massachusetts Joint Terrorism Task Force on July 4. A previous drunken driving conviction barred Ciccolo from having a gun.
According to court documents, Ciccolo was recorded talking to the cooperating witness about his plans to bring mayhem and death to Americans on behalf of the Islamic State. Also known as Abu Ali al Amriki, Ciccolo talked about killing civilians, police officers and members of the U.S. military in the initial recorded statements. Later, his plans changed to targeting a state university outside Massachusetts and broadcast the killings of students live over the Internet.
The university would be attacked with assault rifles and explosives during lunch because the dorms and the cafeteria would be packed with people. He also said that he would allow Muslim students to “help, sit tight or leave.” The day before his arrest, Ciccolo was observed buying a pressure cooker at Wal-Mart like those used in the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013.
Last fall, Ciccolo’s father alerted authorities that his son was talking about joining the Islamic State group. The father told the FBI that Ciccolo had a long history of mental illness and had become obsessed with Islam in the last 18 months. In a statement, Ciccolo’s parents said, “While we were saddened and disappointed to learn or our son’s intentions, we are grateful that authorities were able to prevent any loss of life or harm to others.” The father, Robert Ciccolo, is a 27-year veteran of the Boston police force.