Sami Samir Hassoun allegedly dropped what he thought was a bomb into a garbage can outside of Wrigley Field. He reportedly intended to inflict injuries and create chaos just as a Dave Matthews Band show at the home of the Chicago Cubs was letting out and the streets of Wrigleyville were filled with revelers. But Chicago police and FBI agents, who had been watching Hassoun for months, swarmed in and arrested the 22-year-old man.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the “bomb” was actually a dud; the device, which consisted of a gallon paint can loaded with fake explosives, ball bearings and a timing device, was provided to Hassoun by undercover agents as part of a months-long investigation into his alleged terrorist intentions.
Police said that Hassoun dialed down the device’s timer so it would go off sooner, then planted it in a garbage can outside a sports bar near the venue. Moments later, he was apprehended.
The arrest came after months of surveillance during which authorities claim to have learned of Hassoun’s plot to undermine outgoing Chicago mayor Richard Daley’s administration through repeated, deadly attacks.
Hassoun also had aims to poison the city’s water supply, assassinate Daley, attack nightlife districts and ignite car bombs all over Chicago, authorities said.
The home-grown terrorist was reportedly not motivated by religious or political views, but by a drive to undermine Daley’s political support and pave the way for one of his pals to take control of the city.
The FBI was on to Hassoun from the beginning, and it planted an informant and undercover agents around the troubled man to monitor his moves. Though he never caught on, Hassoun’s plans were an open book to investigators. The FBI provided him with a camcorder to scout potential terror locations, paid him nearly $3,000 so he could quit his job and work on his terror plots full time and assembled the fake bomb he used on Saturday night.
Hassoun was in court on Monday, and he was charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempting to detonate an explosive device.
The owner of the bar, Sluggers, said casualties from a bomb could have been massive, with more than 40,000 DMB fans and revelers roaming the area around midnight. The FBI and Chicago police said residents were never in any danger during the months Hassoun plotted his bombings.
A spokesperson for DMB could not be reached for comment at press time.