By Maya Rhodan
January 21, 2015

A federal grand jury in Ohio has indicted a man accused of plotting to attack the U.S. Capitol by detonating pipe bombs and shooting government officials.

Christopher Lee Cornell, 20, was charged with attempting to kill government employees, solicitation to commit a crime and possession of a firearm, the Justice Department said in a statement. The first two charges are punishable by 20 years in prison while the third charge can bring 5 years in prison.

He was arrested Jan. 14 outside a gun shop after having come onto federal agents radar over the summer for suspicious postings on social media, in which he sought help to carry out an attack inspired by the militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria. In subsequent court documents, the Associated Press reports, the FBI said Cornell had planned to “wage jihad”; he had been interacting with an FBI informant for months while agents carried out their investigation.

Cornell’s father has said his son didn’t have the means to carry out a violent attack and believes he was coerced by the informant. His arraignment is scheduled for Thursday.

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