Police in Richmond, California have arrested 55-year-old William Celli, who was allegedly constructing explosive devices he intended to use against the Muslims in his community.
Authorities obtained a search warrant for the man’s home after an anonymous caller tipped them off about Celli’s activities. After evacuating the entire neighborhood, police detonated what appeared to be a homemade bomb, telling reporters they were not sure if it was an inert or active device. ThinkProgress confirmed that Celli, who is married and owns his own plumbing company, has been held in the Contra Costa County Jail since Sunday afternoon.
A Facebook account reportedly belonging to Celli includes several rants about Islam, undocumented immigrants, and Hillary Clinton, including missives such as this:
Celli was also an apparent admirer of GOP frontrunner Donald Trump, saying he would follow the hotel-mogul-turned-candidate “to the end of the world.”
Trump’s comments over the past several months slamming undocumented immigrants, refugees, and Muslims have endeared him to white supremacist groups — who say they’ve been enjoying increased support thanks to his appeal. Some Trump supporters have also acted out violently, including two brothers in Boston who cited Trump as an inspiration for beating and urinating on a homeless Latino man. In November, several attendees at a Trump campaign rally in Alabama kicked, punched, and shouted racial slurs at a local Black Lives Matter protester.
While it is not yet confirmed that Celli’s plot was inspired by recent anti-Islam rhetoric coming from the GOP, the country has seen a massive spike in violence against Muslims and mosques in recent weeks — including shootings, arson, and assault.