Michigan man pleads guilty to sending messages about mass shooting plot targeting Jews

A 19-year-old Michigan man arrested for sending Instagram messages about planning a mass shooting targeting Jewish people pleaded guilty to a federal charge, officials announced Monday.

The FBI arrested Seann Pietila in June after discovering Instagram messages he sent detailing plans of violence with specific references to the Jewish community, including antisemitic slurs, references to other mass shooters, and plans to record acts of violence to post online. Authorities said he was focusing his planning on an East Lansing synagogue, Congregation Shaarey Zedek.

“Thank God that we were in a situation where we prevented a possible atrocity rather than being in a situation to respond to one,” U.S. Attorney Mark Totten said at a news briefing Monday.

Pietila pleaded guilty to transmitting threatening communications, which carries a maximum of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release. He is no longer able to possess firearms due to the felony conviction, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Read more: USA Today