Close-knit community rattled by terror arrest

In this July 26, 2012 photo provided by the Northumberland News, Alexander Ciccolo participates in a peace walk through Brighton, Ontario. Law enforcement officials say Ciccolo was arrested after his father, a Boston police captain, alerted authorities that his son was talking about joining the Islamic State group and setting off bombs. (Dave Fraser/Northumberland News via AP)

ADAMS, Mass. (WPRI/WTEN) — A quiet neighborhood in Adams, Massachusetts has been rattled after one of its residents is in custody in connection with an alleged terror plot.

“A big shock. Big, big shock. This little town that we live in in Adams, Massachusetts is a very close-knit community,” neighbor Jackson Rysz said.

Alexander Ciccolo, 23, also known as Ali Al Amirki, lived in the small town until he was arrested July 4 on weapons charges.

In a complaint unsealed Monday, the FBI said Ciccolo was plotting to attack a university and broadcast student executions live online.

“It’s very disturbing, shocking, and you’re not safe anywhere anymore,” Joseph Martins, another neighbor said.

Residents in Adams said the recent arrest hits too close to home. They said they often saw Ciccolo out and about in the community.

“He was always walking, very quiet. Kept to himself. Anyone would try to say hi, he wouldn’t acknowledge it. He would just (motions hand),” Cecilia Kozik explained.

Ciccolo worked for a man named Dave White, who said he was always confused about Ciccolo’s background.

“We questioned him about if he was Italian or if he was Muslim,” White told our sister station in Albany, NY. “He really didn’t want to comment so much on that.”

According to the complaint, Ciccolo was arrested after buying four firearms from an undercover FBI informant and buying a pressure cooker from Walmart. It was Ciccolo’s father, a Boston police captain, who reported him to the FBI after noticing a change in his behavior.

Safety Guide: Know the Signs of Terrorism >>
Safety Guide: Know the Signs of Terrorism »

Last week, the FBI raided his apartment. During the search, the FBI found homemade bombs.

Police said Ciccolo told them the bombs were made in a way that the fire from the devices would stick to people’s skins, making it harder to put out.

He also reportedly told police he was inspired by the Boston Bombings from 2013 and wanted to plan a similar attack.

In a statement, Ciccolo’s parents said they’re saddened and disappointed to learn about their son’s intentions. But, they’re grateful authorities were able to prevent anyone from getting hurt.

Ciccolo is currently being held at the Wyatt Detention Center in Central Falls, the Target 12 Investigators have confirmed.

A detention hearing for Ciccolo is scheduled for Tuesday at 3:30 p.m.

Our sister station WTEN contributed to this report.

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