JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – New documents and recordings reveal what investigators said were conversations a man had with an undercover federal agent about firearms, and his plans to carry out a mass shooting at the Islamic Center of Northeast Florida.
In the undercover video, investigators said Bernandino Bolatete was seen working inside a liquor store, talking to an undercover agent who befriended Bolatete.
According to investigators, Bolatete talked with the agent about how to purchase a suppressor without having to get it registered,
"If I were you, don't register the suppressor in your name," Bolatete is allegedly heard saying. "The police can come into your house anytime to inspect it without any warrant."
The two men continued talking, and the undercover agent said his friend has other suppressors he would be willing to sell.
In a text message about the suppressor, Bolatete allegedly wrote the suppressor is quiet enough to blend in with the sound of fireworks. The agent texts back that he's not happy with someone, to which investigators said Bolatete texted:
"If you can point him to me, I'll take him for you guys. Pls delete this message after you read it so that it can't be found in your celfon (cellphone) just in case investigators will try to 'connect' us."
Transcripts of the conversations with the undercover agent also show Bolatete talking about his plans to carry out a shooting at the Islamic Center of Northeast Florida, according to investigators.
"I have to bring my - my long guns there and uh, stay at that, us tower. Keep shooting those Muslims, you know, on Friday. [laughing]"
Investigators said Bolatete explained Muslims worship on Fridays, and he would have to shoot from the Mosque tower, as he would not be able to place a bomb at the center without being noticed.
According to documented transcripts, Bolatete continued:
"Go up to the tower and start shooting. [laughing] It will be - it will be great, right? [laughing]"
In another conversation, Bolatete was documented as having said:
"I just want to give these freaking people a taste of their own medicine, you know. They are the one who are always doing these shootings, the killings."
Additional undercover video is said to show Bolatete shopping for ammunition with the agent. They're also seen visiting a shooting range multiple times.
Eventually, investigators said the agent sold the suppressor to Bolatete in a parking lot, and the SWAT team moved in to arrest him. After his arrest, Bolatete's home was raided in East Arlington, where investigators seized 11 guns and more than 2,000 rounds of ammunition.
Bolatete was not charged for the statements about planning a shooting at the mosque. He was convicted of illegal possession of a suppressor.
Bolatete's sentencing is scheduled for August. He faces up to 10 years in prison.