MANHATTAN, Kan., April 10 (UPI) -- A former U.S. Army recruit has been charged for allegedly plotting to detonate a suicide bomb at Fort Riley military base in Kansas as a show of support for Islamic State.
John T. Booker Jr., 20, of Topeka, Kan., was arrested Friday in Manhattan as he completed final preparations on the device he planned to use to attack the base. The U.S. Department of Justice said the vehicle bomb was inert at the time of the arrest.
He allegedly wanted to detonate the device on the base because there were numerous soldiers stationed there, the complaint against Booker said. The attack was purportedly in the name of IS -- also identified by the acronyms ISIS and ISIL -- Assistant Attorney General John Carlin said.
As part of his preparations, Booker allegedly acquired parts for and plotted to construct a vehicle bomb, produced a propaganda video, rented a storage locker to store the explosive device, and expressed a desire to become a martyr.
"I want to assure the public there was never any breach of Fort Riley Military Base, nor was the safety or the security of the base or its personnel ever at risk," said FBI Special Agent in Charge Eric Jackson. "Recently the Command Staff at Fort Riley has been working hand in hand with law enforcement to ensure the utmost security and protection for the men and women who serve our country, and the surrounding community that supports the base."
Booker enlisted in the Army on Feb. 7, 2014, and was scheduled to begin basic training April 7, 2014, Army spokesman Wayne Hall told CNN. His enlistment was terminated March 24, 2014, upon request by the Army Criminal Investigation Command.
Investigators began questioning Booker after a complaint he posted pro-jihadi messages on his Facebook page.
"Getting ready to be killed in jihad is a HUGE adrenaline rush. I am so nervous. NOT because I'm scare to die but I am eager to meet my lord," he wrote.
Booker faces charges of one count of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction (explosives), one count of attempting to damage property by means of an explosive and one count of attempting to provide material support to IS, a designated foreign terrorist organization. Should he be convicted, he faces up to life in prison.
A second man, Alexander E. Blair, 28, was arrested for allegedly having knowledge of Booker's plot and failing to report the felony.