Court documents released Friday say the plot to kill police officers in Boston was hatched in the belief that it would support the objectives of ISIS.
David Wright, 25, of Everett, Massachusetts, and Nicholas Rovinski, 24, of Warwick, Rhode Island, were both charged Friday with conspiracy to provide material support to ISIS.
Wright and Rovinski are charged with conspiring with each other, unknown conspirators, and Usaamah Rahim. Rahim, Wright's uncle, was shot and killed by terrorism investigators on June 2 as they sought to question him about a possible plot to kill police officers.
Wright was originally arrested on June 3 on a conspiracy to obstruct justice charge, and has been in custody since then. He is scheduled to return to court next week for a detention hearing. Rovinski was arrested Thursday night without incident at his home in Rhode Island and appeared in court on Friday afternoon. He was ordered held without bail pending a hearing on June 19.
The charges against the two men carry a maximum sentence of no greater than 15 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.
Federal officials searched Rovinki's house at least two days last week, but they wouldn't discuss details of the search. A telephone call to his house on Thursday night rang unanswered, and a woman inside yelled through the front door to a reporter outside, "Get out of here."
The court affidavit released Friday alleges that on an unknown date no later than May of 2015, Wright, Rovinski and Rahim conspired to commit attacks and kill people inside the U.S. that they believed would support ISIS's objectives.
Court documents charge that the three conspired to attack and behead a person referred to as "Intended Victim-1," a New York resident who had organized a conference in Texas on May 3 featuring cartoons depicting the Islamic prophet Muhammad. That person is believed to be Pamela Geller, executive director of the American Freedom Defense Initiative, which the Southern Poverty Law Center classifies as an anti-Islam hate organization.
Early on May 31, court documents allege, Wright and Rahim drove to Rhode Island, picked up Rovinski at his residence in Warwick, and drove to a Warwick beach to discuss their plot in secrecy.
Rahim, who had been under surveillance, was confronted last week because he had bought knives and talked of an imminent attack on "boys in blue," the FBI said.
The FBI said Rahim, who had previously discussed beheadings, bought three fighting knives and a sharpener on or before May 26 and told Wright he would begin trying to randomly kill police officers.
An anti-terror task force of FBI agents and Boston police officers, faced with an imminent threat, confronted Rahim on a sidewalk and fatally shot him when he refused to drop his knife, authorities said.
Boston police Commissioner William Evans said officers confronted Rahim because "military and law enforcement lives were at threat." He said the officers "made the right call," drawing their guns only after backing away and giving Rahim "multiple chances" to drop the military-style knife he was holding.
Evans reiterated his praise for the officers on necn on Thursday night, saying they "did the city proud."
Rahim's relatives have disputed investigators' version of events, citing a blurry surveillance video released by police. They said the video showing the terror investigators fatally shooting him doesn't show him brandishing a weapon or approaching officers aggressively. They said he was not the initial aggressor and did not appear to be breaking any laws as he walked toward a bus stop on his way to work on June 2.