Rochester cancels New Year's Eve fireworks after terror attack plot arrest; city says no specific threat

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Thursday, December 31, 2015

ROCHESTER, New York (WABC) -- A man from western New York is under arrest, accused of working ISIS to plan to kill people at a restaurant on New Year's Eve, prompting the city to cancel a public event.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said 25-year-old Emanuel Lutchman of Rochester has been charged with proving material to support ISIS, a foreign terrorist organization.

Prosecutors said Lutchman planned to carry out an armed attack at a restaurant/bar in the Rochester, New York, area on Thursday. He was going to do this on behalf of ISIS and it was part of his plan to join ISIS overseas.

The FBI learned about the plot and set up a sting. During this, Lutchman allegedly discussed doing assassinations and using a pressure cooker bomb.

Prosecutors said Lutchman told an informant that he hates the United States and that he was committed to ISIS.

"We just gotta show our allegiance. I'm ready to lose my family," Lutchman allegedly told an informant. "I will take a life, I don't have a problem with that."

He also discussed targeting sneaking a bomb into a bar or club and kidnapping people and kill them. He ultimately settled on a New Year's Eve plot involving possibly kidnapping a victim and killing them using knives and a machete.

On the evening of December 29, Lutchman met an informant at a Walmart in Rochester to purchase supplies for the operation including 2 black ski masks, zip ties, 2 knives, a machete, duct tape, ammonia and latex gloves.

Lutchman apparently had very little in the way of money and needed the informant to pay $40 for those items.

"The FBI thwarted Emanuel Lutchman's intent to kill civilians on New Year's Eve," said Special Agent in Charge Cohen in a news release. "The FBI remains concerned about people overseas who use the Internet to inspire people in the United States to commit acts of violence where they live."

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the state is taking every precaution to keep people safe.

"The arrest of Emanuel Lutchman is an important reminder of the new normal of global terrorism," said Gov. Cuomo in a statement. "Today law enforcement did their job well - but the challenges we face have never been greater, and it is incumbent on every citizen to be diligent and responsible."

As a result of the threat, the city canceled its New Years Eve fireworks display. Although, officials said there is no specific threat and it is deploying additional officers for the night.

An event scheduled at the Convention Center is still going on as planned.

Lutchman appeared before a magistrate Thursday morning. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Stay with abc7NY for the latest on this developing story.