The Latest: Man arrested in alleged plot was fired from gym

AP News
Posted: Jan 26, 2016 7:35 PM

MILWAUKEE (AP) — The Latest on the arrest of a 23-year-old man accused of planning to attack a Masonic temple in Milwaukee. Samy Mohamed Hamzeh was charged Tuesday in federal court (all times local):

6:30 p.m.

The owner of a downtown Milwaukee gym says she recently fired the 23-year-old man who federal authorities say wanted to storm a Masonic temple with a machine gun and kill at least 30 people.

Delia (DAY'-lee-uh) Luna of 9Round Kickbox Fitness says she had hired Samy Mohamed Hamzeh as a trainer for a few weeks before firing him last week.

Luna tells The Associated Press that Hamzeh was "very intense, very militant" as a trainer. She says he did not mix well with the atmosphere she was trying to create at the club. And she says he gave no indication he was planning what the government accuses him of.

Hamzeh was charged Tuesday with weapons-related counts. Court documents say he was arrested Monday after buying machine guns and silencers from two undercover FBI employees.


6:10 p.m.

The leader of Masons in Wisconsin says he's disturbed by an alleged plot to attack a Masonic center in that city.

Frank Struble, grand master of Free and Accepted Masons in Wisconsin, says it was hard to hear about the charges against 23-year-old Samy Mohamed Hamzeh. The complaint accused Hamzeh of wanting to shoot up a Masonic center to defend the Muslim religion.

Struble says the Masons are a fraternal organization, not a religion, and its members never discuss religion or politics. But he says the group embraces all religions.

Struble says Masons trace their history to include some of the nation's founding fathers. He says he can "understand from that standpoint where someone who is against this country would target us."


6 p.m.

Federal officials in Milwaukee say they've arrested a 23-year-old man who planned to attack a Masonic temple.

Samy Mohamed Hamzeh was charged Tuesday with weapons-related counts. Federal officials say they'd been investigating him since September.

Authorities say the FBI was tipped that Hamzeh had planned to travel to Israel to attack Israeli soldiers and citizens in the West Bank. They say Hamzeh abandoned the plan as too difficult and later decided on a domestic attack.

Court documents say Hamzeh toured a Masonic center in Milwaukee on Jan. 19 and was recorded discussing his plans to attack it in the name of "defending Muslim religion."

Documents say Hamzeh was arrested Monday after buying machine guns and silencers from two undercover FBI employees.

Hamzeh's attorney didn't immediately return messages left after business hours.