NEW YORK — A U.S. Army soldier was arrested Tuesday in Georgia on charges that he plotted to blow up New York City’s 9/11 Memorial and attack U.S. soldiers in the Middle East, authorities said Tuesday.
Cole James Bridges of Stow, Ohio, was in custody on charges of attempted material support of a terrorist organization — the Islamic State group — and attempted murder of a military member, said Nicholas Biase, a spokesperson for Manhattan federal prosecutors.
The 20-year-old soldier, also known as Cole Gonzales, was with the Third Infantry Division out of Fort Stewart, Georgia, Biase said.
Between August 2020 and January 2021, Bridges knowingly attempted to provide “material support or resources” to foreign terrorist organization ISIS, according to the criminal complaint.
While deployed with his U.S. Army unit overseas and upon his return to the United States, Bridges expressed his allegiance to ISIS and provided advice regarding choosing targets in New York City for a potential attack, according to court documents.
He also stated he would betray his Army unit if involved in combat with ISIS fighters and would provide support, tactical training materials and advise for use by ISIS against U.S. forces, officials said.
Bridges also made a video standing in front of what appeared to be an ISIS flag, making a gesture symbolic of support to the group.
He was scheduled to make an initial appearance in federal court in Georgia on Thursday.
It was not immediately clear who would represent him.