Deputies: Florida inmate said he would join ISIS, bomb White House

Orlando airport, DeLand courthouse among other targets

By Adrienne Cutway - Web Editor

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. - An inmate wrote in a letter that he planned to bomb several locations, including the White House, the Orlando airport and the DeLand courthouse, then join ISIS because he didn't like the government for putting him in jail, according to the Volusia County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies said Ethan Russell, 18, handed a correctional officer crumpled-up pieces of paper on which he'd written about his intent to make bombs and join ISIS. Records show the letter mentioned seven targets that he intended to bomb: the Orlando International Airport, the White House, the Capitol Building, Daytona International Speedway, the Pentagon, the DeLand courthouse and the "Magic stadium."

The letter read, in part, "When you are done reading this you will know that when these targets are eliminated I will join ISIS, taliban, al qaeda, we will bring your country down to their knees. Praise Allah. P.S. This will be the greatest day of my life when is (sic) see this on the news it will make me the happiest person."

[Click here to read the letter in its entirety]

When questioned about the letter, Russell admitted to writing it and said he meant every word, according to the report. Deputies said Russell told them he learned to make bombs on YouTube and wanted to kill innocent people.

Russell got upset when investigators questioned him on his limited bomb-making knowledge and suggested he wouldn't be able to join ISIS because he's a Christian. He claimed to know a set of American twins who joined ISIS, but his story about them changed several times, according to the report.

Deputies said Russell wanted to join the terrorist organization "because the government put my dad in jail for crimes he didn't commit and now I'm in jail for things you used to be able to do and now the government says it's illegal."

Russell's mother said her son suffers from mental disorders and often lies to make himself seem more interesting.

Russell was already in jail on an attempted armed burglary charge after a witness saw him throwing rocks at the window of a home in an attempt to break in, officials said. He now faces an additional charge of written threat to kill or commit an act of terrorism.

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