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Arizona man planned to incite race war with mass shooting at Atlanta concert, authorities say

Arizona man planned to incite race war with mass shooting at Atlanta concert, authorities say
Arizona man planned to incite race war with mass shooting at Atlanta concert, authorities say

Mark Adams Prieto allegedly planned to orchestrate mass shooting before presidential election



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  • Mark Adams Prieto charged after allegedly trying to incite a race war

  • Arizona man allegedly planned mass shooting in Atlanta before upcoming election.

  • He was arrested in May and indicted by a federal grand jury on Tuesday, June 11.

An Arizona man allegedly planned a mass shooting at a concert in Atlanta in May with the intention of inciting a race war before the presidential election, federal authorities say.

Mark Adams Prieto, 58, was indicted by a federal grand jury Tuesday, June 11, on charges of trafficking in firearms, transferring a firearm for use in a hate crime and possessing an unregistered firearm, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. District of Arizona.

The indictment follows a five-month investigation by the FBI, which ended with Prieto’s arrest in May. Throughout the investigation, the FBI learned that Prieto allegedly had discussions with two other individuals to “formulate a plan to commit mass shootings against African Americans and other minorities in order to incite a war race ahead of the 2024 US presidential election.

The investigation was launched in October when the Phoenix FBI was alerted by a source that an individual – who was later identified as Prieto – had expressed a desire to incite a race war, according to the police affidavit. arrest obtained by PEOPLE.

The source reportedly informed authorities that they had spoken with Prieto more than 15 times over three years at various gun shows. Prieto allegedly began making suspicious and alarming comments as their conversations became more political. According to the affidavit, Prieto began advocating for a mass shooting and “specifically targeted blacks, Jews or Muslims.”

In late 2023, Prieto reportedly asked the source if they were “ready to kill a bunch of people.” His question followed Prieto’s belief that “martial law will be implemented shortly after the 2024 election and that a mass shooting should occur before then.”

Related: Texas man arrested after officials allegedly intercepted his Walmart mass shooting plans

Matti Blume/Wikimedia Commons FBI police vehicles at the Hoover BuildingMatti Blume/Wikimedia Commons FBI police vehicles at the Hoover Building

Matti Blume/Wikimedia Commons FBI police vehicles at the Hoover Building

He was a salesman at gun shows in Prescott, Arizona, trading firearms from his personal collection. However, he would only conduct cash transactions or transactions in an effort to evade the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, according to the arrest affidavit. This would later be confirmed by observation with the help of the source. Prieto was under FBI surveillance from January to March.

Then, when the surveillance began, on January 21 in Phoenix, Prieto allegedly expressed to the source and an undercover FBI agent that he wanted their help in carrying out a mass shooting targeting African Americans during a rap concert in Atlanta, according to the affidavit.



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Prieto also said he wanted to target a rap concert because “there would be a high concentration of African Americans at the concert,” according to the affidavit. He reportedly said he planned to leave Confederate flags after the shooting and wanted to show “no mercy, no quarter.”

He said he wanted to yell “white people out here killing, what are we going to do” and “KKK all the way,” according to the affidavit.

He told the source and the undercover agent that the attack was to follow Super Tuesday (March 5, 2024) “so they would know the candidates running for office,” according to the affidavit. He also told the two men what weapons he planned to use and suggested the group travel to Atlanta before planning to store the weapons.

Prieto stressed to the two men that the most important thing was “a high death toll,” according to the affidavit.



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Related: School nurse accused of raping student allegedly planned to ‘start killing people’ in mass shooting

In February, Prieto – who was under surveillance – allegedly went to a gun show in Phoenix and asked the source and the undercover agent if they were still going to participate in the mass shooting. The next day, he allegedly sold a gun to the undercover agent for $2,000.

The following month, on March 23, Prieto told the undercover agent that he intended to continue the shooting while the two were at a gun show in Prescott Valley, Arizona. He said they shouldn’t wait until after the election, but rather the rap concert. it was going to take May 14 and 15, or somewhere in June or July, according to the affidavit. Although authorities did not identify the concert Prieto planned to attack, the two proposed dates coincided with the two nights Bad Bunny was performing.

Then, on March 24, Prieto allegedly sold an AR-15 rifle to the undercover agent for $1,000 and ordered him to use it in the attack, the affidavit states.

The following month, at another Prescott Valley gun show, the undercover agent asked if the attack was still planned for May, but Prieto reportedly said he wanted to move it to a later date, according to the affidavit.

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On May 14, Prieto was arrested on a New Mexico highway. At the time of his arrest, he reportedly confirmed that he knew both the source and the undercover agent and discussed orchestrating a mass shooting in Atlanta. Prieto also admitted to selling an AR-15 to the undercover agent and telling him the weapon would be good for shooting, according to the affidavit.

When arrested, he had seven firearms in his vehicle and was later taken into federal custody, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office news release. After the arrest, authorities received a search warrant at his home and recovered additional firearms, including an unregistered short-barreled shotgun, the news release states.

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