Emanuel Lutchman was arrested Dec. 30 for his support of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and his planned attack New Year’s Eve in Rochester, N.Y.
Authorities said Lutchman, a resident of Rochester, planned to attack a local restaurant/bar armed only with a machete, knives, and supplies to take hostages.
This marks the 76th Islamist-inspired terror attack/plot on the United States since 9/11 and the 13th in 2015—making 2015 the year with the greatest number of attacks or plots over the past 14 years.
Lutchman is a 25-year-old U.S. citizen who has a history of arrests and in 2006 was sent to prison for five years for robbery. Beginning in November of 2015, he started confessing his allegiance to ISIS online. It wasn’t until after purportedly getting in contact with a member of ISIS within Syria that the planning of an attack began.
Through his pledge of allegiance to ISIS, Lutchman declared his intent to travel to Syria and fight with the terrorist group—once stating,“I’m ready to lose my family.”
But because of troubles crossing into Syria, Lutchman was encouraged to show his support to ISIS by killing Americans any way he could.
The supposed ISIS member in contact with Lutchman suggested that New Year’s Eve would be a good time for an attack.
Lutchman often referred to “brothers” who might be able to assist in his attack—referring to three confidential FBI sources. Lutchman sought assistance in traveling to Syria and his “brothers” following the attack. The ISIS member noted that he would even publish Lutchman’s attack via ISIS media outlets.
Lutchman told confidential sources his plan to attack a local restaurant/bar originally through a number of assassinations or with a pressure cooker bomb, but due to a lack of funds, Lutchman ultimately decided to execute his attack with a machete and a dagger.
Two days before his planned attack, Lutchman purchased supplies in case they needed to kidnap someone as a hostage. At a local Walmart he purchased two black ski masks, zip-ties, two knives, a machete, duct tape, ammonia, and latex gloves, borrowing 40 dollars from one of the confidential sources to make the purchase.
Just before his planned attack and ultimate arrest Lutchman, made a mobile phone video again claiming his allegiance to ISIS and its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Of the 76 terror attacks or plots since 9/11, Lutchman is the 65th case of homegrown radicalization, or where the terrorist was radicalized while in the U.S. It is also the 15th plot to target some sort of public mass gathering.
ISIS continues to be successful in its influence of misguided young Americans—as every attack or plot in 2015 was attributed to individuals who were at least partially inspired by ISIS and less so by other Islamist terrorist organizations. With the total number of Islamist terror plots against the U.S. at 13 in 2015, there were more terror plots in 2015 than any other year since 9/11 and more in 2015 than 2012, 2013, and 2014 combined.
To stay ahead of the growing terrorist threat, we must support stronger action against Islamist terrorist groups.
The United States and its allies need to take more effective steps to isolate, undermine, and defeat ISIS. Greater intelligence and law enforcement cooperation is needed to uncover and neutralize terrorist plots, curtail the flow of foreign fighters to Syria, and monitor the activities of foreign fighters who have returned to the United States and other countries.
Whether Lutchman’s contact overseas was truly a member of ISIS or not, ISIS’ existence in Iraq and Syria and continued propaganda across the internet continues to taint the mind of disillusioned individuals into committing acts of violence.
The U.S. must remain vigilant in countering terrorism, but there must also be concrete leadership from Congress and the administration in order to succeed.