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Son Of Boston Police Capt. Charged With Plotting ISIS-Inspired Attacks On College Campus

BOSTON (CBS) -- The son of a Boston Police captain is facing charges "in connection with a plot to engage in terrorism" on behalf of ISIS, prosecutors said Monday.

A criminal complaint was unsealed charging Alexander Ciccolo, also known as Ali Al Amriki, 23, of Adams, with being in possession of firearms. Ciccolo was arrested on July 4.

Alexander Ciccolo
Alexander Ciccolo (Photo from Napanee Beaver)

Sources told WBZ-TV Ciccolo's father, Police Capt. Robert Ciccolo reported his son to the FBI. His son had previously undergone mental health treatment. The father and son are estranged.

"While we were saddened and disappointed to learn of our son's intentions, we are grateful that authorities were able to prevent any loss of life or harm to others," the Ciccolo family said in a statement.

Authorities say Alexander Ciccolo took four guns from a person who was cooperating with members of the Western Massachusetts Joint Terrorism Task Force. (Image Credit: US Attorney's Office)

Investigators were seen at Ciccolo's Murray Street home in Adams on July 11.

Read The Full Complaint

United States Attorney Carmen Ortiz said Ciccolo told witnesses about his "plans to commit acts of terrorism" inspired by ISIS.

Those acts "including setting off improvised explosive devices, such as pressure cookers filled with black powder, nails, ball bearings and glass, in places where large numbers of people congregate, like college cafeterias."

adams 7
Investigators outside Alexander Ciccolo's Murray St. home. (Photo courtesy:

The affidavit said that before his arrest, Ciccolo bought a pressure cooker similar to ones used in the Boston Marathon bombings of April 2013.

Capt. Ciccolo was supervising more than two dozen officers in Kenmore Square during the Marathon bombings.  

The affidavit also stated that Ciccolo originally planned to target a police station, but later decided to target a university. He planned to attack, "before Ramadan was over, and no later than July 31," according to the affidavit.

"The attack would be concentrated in the college dorms and cafeteria, to include executions of students which  would be broadcast live via the internet," the report says. "If a student was Muslim, then they would be permitted to help, sit tight, or leave."

WBZ-TV's Liam Martin reports

Ciccolo's father has been with the Boston Police Department since 1992, moving up through the ranks over the years. He had apparently been concerned about his son, who had been in and out of mental health treatment.

WBZ-TV Security Analyst Ed Davis worked with Captain Ciccolo when he was commissioner of the Boston Police. "It's a terrible tragedy for the family," Davis said. "Bob is a tremendous police officer who has had a distinguished career over the last 25 years. Just a very impressive guy and to have this hit his family is just terrible."

Adams Neighborhood Stunned

People in Ciccolo's neighborhood are stunned by the arrest and the alleged plot. When the home on Murray Street in Adams was raided on July 4th, it was unlike anything they had ever seen.

"There was FBI everywhere, police everywhere, cops swarming everywhere," neighbor Jackson Rysz says. "When we found out we were all shocked."

They were searching Ciccolo's first floor apartment where they say they found Molotov cocktails, machetes and a long curved knife.

"It was too close to home, way too close to home," Lila Zustra said.

WBZ-TV's Kate Merrill reports

Locals are not only stunned but scared.

"To have this in our little town of Adams it's very annoying, very scary, oh my gosh I couldn't eat," said Cecilia Kozik, who has lived in Adams for 60 years.

Neighbors say he kept to himself.

"He was always walking very quiet, kept to himself, anyone who tried to say hi he wouldn't acknowledge it," Zustra said.

Ciccolo's arrest is the 55th in the U.S. this year linked to ISIS inspired terror plots.

This is the second plot foiled in Massachusetts this year.

In June, Boston Police shot and killed Usaamah Rahim when he confronted them with a knife. Investigators say Rahim plotted with another Massachusetts man and others to behead law enforcement officers.

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