Authorities arrested an 18-year-old southern Illinois man who they allege had communicated with an unspecified terrorist group about a plan to an attack on at least one area location.
Keaun L. Cook, of Godfrey, was arrested Wednesday on preliminary charges of providing material support for terrorism and making a terrorist threat. He was being held at the Madison County jail on $150,000 bond and didn’t have a lawyer as of Friday morning.
At a news conference Thursday, Madison County’s state’s attorney, Tom Gibbons, described Cook as a dangerous man who had deliberate plan to cause a “mass casualty event” at one or more locations in the county. He declined to specify which terrorist group Cook had allegedly been in contact with, but said they weren’t local. He also wouldn’t give the locations of any planned attacks, but said police departments and individuals at those locations were notified after authorities first learned of the threat.
County Sheriff John Lakin said authorities learned of the threat Aug. 24 when deputies did a welfare check at the home of Cook’s grandmother, who has looked after him since his mother died unexpectedly of an illness in 2011. Gibbons said someone then reported the verbal threats.
Although investigators found no dangerous materials or firearms in the home, Lakin said he thinks there was a “strong possibility he could have carried it out alone.”
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