An Ohio man has been accused of plotting an attack on Wednesday's Independence Day parade and fireworks in downtown Cleveland, the FBI announced Monday.
Agents said they had charged Demetrius Nathaniel Pitts with one count of attempting to provide material support to Al-Qaeda.
“I’m trying to figure out something that would shake them up on the 4th of July,” Pitts allegedly said to an undercover FBI operative, according to court documents.
“What would hit them at their core? Blow up in the, have a bomb blow up in the 4th of July parade,” he continued.
Pitts made clear to the undercover operative numerous times that he wanted to be responsible only for the planning of the attack - not carrying it out, court records show.
"The only thing I’m gonna be responsible for is going to look at the spot, to scope out the scenery," he told the undercover agent in one alleged conversation.
According to court documents, Pitts a 48-year-old resident of Maple Heights, Ohio, first attracted the attention of the FBI in 2015 with social media postings about jihad.
The FBI grew more concerned when the postings became more violent in nature. officials said.
Pitts also expressed to the undercover agent that he would also surveil Philadelphia, a city where he previously lived, in planning a future potential attack.
He was due in court later Monday.
“Terrorists reject the ideals this nation was founded upon—the ideals we celebrate on July Fourth and which our law enforcement officers lay down their lives for every day,” said Attorney General Sessions in a release Monday.
Just before the Fourth of July, law enforcement reminded Americans to be vigilant for anything unusual - but stressed there was no credible threat.
New York and other cities have beefed up security for their Fourth of July events.