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Federal judge orders release of Samy Hamzeh, accused of plotting mass shooting in Milwaukee

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MILWAUKEE — A federal judge ordered on Friday, July 27 the release of Samy Hamzeh, the man accused of plotting a mass shooting in downtown Milwaukee, until his federal trial begins on August 21.

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 has pleaded not guilty.

Hamzeh is 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.

Humphrey Scottish Rite Temple

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.

Samy Hamzeh (Sketch by Jeff Darrow)

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.

As a condition of this release, Hamzeh must have GPS monitoring and be confined to a home while he awaits trial next month. The judge also recommended no employment during this time.

Listen to the federal court proceedings

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