SHOCK: Teen’s alleged ISIS-inspired plot to kill Pope Francis in Philly
A teenager in New Jersey pled guilty to a bizarre plot to kill Pope Francis during his papal visit to the United States in 2015, AFP reported.
Santos Colon, who was 15 at the time, sought to recruit a sniper to shoot the Holy Father during Mass in Philadelphia and allegedly planned to set off explosives, the Justice Department said in a statement, according to AFP. Court documents indicated he planned to carry out the assassination in support of the Islamic State.
“Colon engaged someone he believed would be the sniper, but in reality was an undercover FBI employee. Colon engaged in target reconnaissance with an FBI confidential source and instructed the source to purchase materials to make explosive devices,” the Justice Department said in a statement.
The teen was quietly arrested 12 days before the event, AFP reported, as federal authorities launched one of the largest security operations in American history to ensure that the popular pontiff remained safe.
Pope Francis began the first leg of the trip with a stopover in D.C., where he visited the White House and Capitol, participated in a parade and canonized St. Junipero Serra on the steps of Washington’s basilica. In a city accustomed to high-profile visits and threats, the security operation was nearly unprecedented. The visit virtually shut down business in the capital of the free world.
The pontiff continued on to New York City, and then Philadelphia, where the city was heavily criticized for its preparations ahead of the visit. While Washington and New York are well-versed in hosting high-profile events, security fears ran deep in Philly.