Translation issues: Lawyers for man accused of plotting mass shooting in Milwaukee ask that trial be delayed

Samy Mohammed Hamzeh

MILWAUKEE — Lawyers for the man accused of plotting a mass shooting in downtown Milwaukee have asked that his trial be delayed.

Samy Hamzeh’s trial was set to begin on Jan. 24th but his lawyers want that pushed back due to translation issues.

Hamzeh was indicted on three counts of knowingly receiving and possessing a firearm not registered to him — two machine guns and a silencer, charges to which he’s pleaded not guilty.

He’s accused of planning to kill at least 30 people. According to the criminal complaint, Hamzeh engaged in extensive conversations with two confidential sources, and those conversations, which were in Arabic, were monitored, recorded and translated by the FBI beginning in October 2015. During those recorded conversations, Hamzeh explained that he wanted to commit a domestic act of violence and, in January 2016, he settled on a Masonic temple in Milwaukee as his target.

The complaint accuses Hamzeh of visiting a shooting range with two other people, and then touring a Masonic temple in Milwaukee, before purchasing machine guns and silencers from undercover FBI agents.

Hamzeh is accused of saying: “Thirty is excellent. If I got out, after killing thirty people, I will be happy 100 percent… 100 percent happy, because these 30 will terrify the world.” He allegedly said the mass shooting would be in defense of Islam — that “when we go into a room, we will be killing everyone. That’s it. This is our duty.”

Hamzeh’s attorneys say he only wanted a legal handgun to protect himself.

Humphrey Scottish Rite Temple

Humphrey Scottish Rite Temple