Alleged ISIS fanboy Justin Nojan Sullivan used a rifle he stole from his dad to shoot his neighbor in the head and lied to authorities about his involvement, according to new charges unsealed Monday.
“Justin Sullivan had elaborate plans to kill hundreds of innocent people to show his support for the terrorist organization, ISIL,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge John Strong, using another acronym for the terrorist group. “During the course of our investigation evidence was uncovered linking Sullivan to John Bailey Clark’s murder six months earlier.”
The body of Clark, 74, was found in December 2014 in a shallow grave outside his home in Morganton, North Carolina. He had been shot three times in the head. Sullivan was arrested six months later on charges of planning an ISIS-inspired attack.
“You didn’t kill that old man?” an FBI agent allegedly asked Sullivan, then 19, after his arrest in June 2015. “No, sir,” Sullivan replied.
The Daily Beast first reported that Sullivan was a likely suspect in Clark’s murder last month. Police announced in December 2015 that a suspect in the homicide was already in custody on federal charges. His father told local media that he had gotten back all weapons seized by police—except for a rifle. The family lived four doors down from Clark.
Authorities say Sullivan lied about knowing the caliber of the weapon used to kill Clark and about having a rifle. “I have no information,” he said when questioned about the murder.
The new indictment says Sullivan stashed the “stolen firearm, a black ski mask, muddy clothes, and a lock pick kit in a crawl space in the home he shared with his parents.” He also allegedly stole $689 from Clark to buy a weapon for a future terror attack. Authorities recovered the money from his home.
In earlier charges filed against Sullivan for his alleged ISIS sympathies, authorities said he told an undercover cop to prove his loyalty by shooting a few people. “[W]ear a mask, do it at night,” he allegedly said. In other conversations, Sullivan allegedly talked about planning an attack with 1,000 victims, possibly using biological weapons according to an earlier indictment.
The new complaint notes that an ISIS spokesman called on sympathizers abroad to carry out attacks on civilians in September 2014. Sullivan converted to Islam “no later than” that month.
“I liked [ISIS] from the beginning, then I started thinking about death and stuff so I became Muslim,” Sullivan allegedly told an undercover law enforcement officer.
Authorities allege that Sullivan also attempted to pay the undercover officer money to kill his parents, out of fears that they would interfere with his plans.
“I don’t know if it is ISIS or what, but he is destroying Buddhas, and figurines, and stuff,” his frightened dad told a 911 operator in April 2015. “I mean, we are scared to leave the house.”