Man who allegedly planned to attack mosque practiced shooting at local gun ranges

This week, Bernandino Bolatete of Jacksonville was arrested and charged with receiving and possessing a silencer not registered to him in a national registry.

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- Court documents show that an undercover officer took 69-year-old Bernandino Bolatete - the man accused of plotting a mass shooting at a local Islamic center - from his home in Jacksonville to the Fraternal Order of Police Shooting Range in St. Augustine at least three times in November.

Documents state "during these meetings, Bolatete repeatedly expressed his hatred of Muslims" and said that he "used to be a 'Rangemaster' at a shooting range in the Philippines."

Also during the trips to the range, documents say Bolatete talked to the undercover officer about a plan to go up the tower at the mosque in Jacksonville and shoot at Muslims.

During the trips to the shooting range in St. Augustine, records indicate Bolatete carried "several weapons" with him.

The president of the FOP shooting range declined an on-camera interview, but said he did not know Bolatete. He said Bolatete had only visited the range a few times and that he was an associate member. Now, he is no longer a member.

The president said when investigators asked for the FOP's assistance, they cooperated.

After months of investigation and several trips to local shooting ranges, investigators arrested Bolatete for buying a silencer from the undercover officer, and he knew that it was not registered in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record.
    
    

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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