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Man suspected of planning mosque shooting gets 5 years in prison

Bolatete, Jacksonville man, sentenced for unlawful possession of gun silencer

An undercover federal agent recorded body cam video of Bernadette Bolatete.
An undercover federal agent recorded body cam video of Bernadette Bolatete.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 70-year-old man suspected of planning to carry out a mass shooting at a Jacksonville mosque was sentenced Monday to prison for an unrelated charge.

The defense asked for probation and a sentence of time served, saying Bernandino Bolatete's health deteriorated significantly since his arrest in December. A federal judge denied the request and sentenced him to five years in prison.

Bolatete was convicted in May after a two day trial, during which a jury was shown taped conversations he had with an undercover agent who sold him the silencer.

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.

Despite the evidence, Bolatete was not charged for the statements about planning a shooting at the mosque.

Bolatete was arrested in a parking lot after the agent sold him the suppressor. His home was raided in East Arlington, where investigators seized 11 guns and more than 2,000 rounds of ammunition.

Bolatete was arrested by federal agents after he and the undercover agent left a store.

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Lifetime Jacksonville resident, journalist and experienced broadcast news producer with a passion for classic and exotic cars.