A self-proclaimed ISIS sympathizer accused of stabbing three people, one fatally, in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida was already being investigated by the FBI and local police before his attack. According to the Palm Beach Post, the FBI was in the process of “discussing pending federal criminal charges” against him one week before the stabbing.
Corey Johnson, 17, was arrested Monday for stabbing three people during a birthday party sleepover. He killed 13-year-old Jovanni Sierra and seriously wounded Elaine Simon, 43, and her 13-year-old son, Dane Bancroft.
Jovanni Sierra Brand was stabbed to death Monday morning in Palm Beach Gardens staying over at a friend’s house. His 13th birthday was Monday. They celebrated Sunday. Here’s a video of the celebration. @WPTV pic.twitter.com/NG2SMjDCwj
— Andrew Lofholm (@AndrewLofholm) March 14, 2018
According to authorities, Johnson said it was his Islamic faith that inspired the attack. He told authorities he read the Quran before going to the sleepover “to give him courage to carry out his intentions.”
Johnson’s radical Islamic influences and violent tendencies were not unknown to authorities, according to reports.
Fox News reported that Jupiter Police, Palm Beach County School District police and the FBI previously received “intelligence gathering” on Johnson that prompted an investigation into his “alleged violent tendencies.”
Police say 17-year-old suspect Corey Johnson stabbed a mother 12 times, then her son 30+ times as he tried to save her at a home in Palm Beach Gardens. Second juvenile, Giovanni Brand, died of stab wounds. https://t.co/uVDRan75Tf pic.twitter.com/hHOqZiRSed
— WPEC CBS12 News (@CBS12) March 13, 2018
Police reported that Johnson made anti-Semitic and anti-homosexual statements as far back as early middle school. “School police said they received information that Johnson ‘has violent tendencies,’ ‘has spoken about inappropriate places to bomb’ and ‘is a White Supremacist,'” the Palm Beach Post reported.
According to the Palm Beach post, law enforcement also learned there were several guns inside of Johnson’s home.
Johnson’s mother and grandparents also reportedly told law enforcement that Johnson was enthralled with dictators such as Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and Kim Jong Un. They also alerted police to the fact that Johnson was interested in Islam and was reading the Quran.
The FBI initially chose not to pursue charges against Johnson. Instead, they “believed a redirection approach would be the most beneficial regarding his conduct” because he was a juvenile, the Palm Beach Post reported.
Two years ago, Johnson made violent threats toward a Catholic high school in England.
According to an October 2016 report from the U.K. Mirror, McAuley Catholic High School received a threatening message that was sent on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. At least 100 students were reportedly removed from school in fear of an impending attack.
“We have our sights set on you and by Allah we will kill every single infidel student at this school McAuleySchoolMassacre,” the message read. The FBI later told Jupiter police that a European counter-intelligence agency investigated Johnson’s connection to the threat.
In January 2017, a police report stated that Johnson “has viewed several videos of ISIS online including beheading videos, has stated he wants to join the organization and has also reached out to ISIS via the internet.”
Palm Beach Gardens stabbing suspect was being monitored for extreme views. This is a police report from Jupiter PD. Corey Johnson was about to be arrested for a terrorist threat to a foreign school. @WPBF25News pic.twitter.com/BOdeZiQhLc
— Ari Hait (@wpbf_ari) March 13, 2018
Two months later, the FBI began monitoring Johnson’s computer activity. They also contacted him and demanded he stop all “social media activities related to ISIS and any other terrorist organization,” according to the Palm Beach Post.
Nevertheless, Johnson continued writing more ISIS related posts by that summer, according to the FBI.
Finally, in February of this year, the FBI stated that it had all the evidence necessary to charge Johnson, according to the Palm Beach Post. A month later, on March 5, Jupiter police reached out to the FBI to ask about the charges and when they would be made against Johnson. They were told that the “probable cause affidavits would be coming in the next several weeks,” the Daily Mail reported.
Johnson carried out the deadly attack one week later. According to the Daily Mail, he is now being held at a juvenile detention facility, and a grand jury will decide whether he is tried as an adult.
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