A U.S. Army veteran from Reseda was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison Monday for attempting to bomb a political rally in Long Beach in 2019, officials said.
Mark Steven Domingo, 28, was found guilty on Aug. 11 of one count of providing material support to terrorism and one count of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction. He received 15 years for the first count and 25 years in federal prison for the second – both sentences to be served simultaneously, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Central District of California.
Domingo was sentenced Monday by U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson, who rejected the prosecutors’ request for a penalty of life in prison.
The court also ordered Domingo to be placed on supervised release for 20 years once he completes his prison sentence, the news release states.
Domingo has been in federal custody since his arrest in April 2019.
An investigation into Domingo was launched after he posted on online forums expressing “support for violence, specifically a desire to seek violent retribution for attacks against Muslims, as well as a willingness to become a martyr,” the news release states.
“This defendant planned a mass-casualty terrorist attack and repeatedly admitted at trial that he had a desire to kill as many people as possible,” said acting U.S. Attorney Tracy L. Wilkison. “Had this bombing been successful, many innocent people would have been murdered, yet this defendant has shown no remorse for his conduct, nor has he renounced the extremist ideology that motivated his horrific plot.”
After “considering various attacks,” Domingo decided to bomb a white supremacist rally on April 26, 2019, as retribution for the New Zealand mosque shootings that left 51 people dead weeks earlier, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
As part of the plot, he asked a confederate – who was actually working with the FBI as part of the investigation – to invite a bomb-maker into the scheme, the release states.
Domingo then purchased and provided to the confederate and the bomb-maker – who was an undercover law enforcement officer – several hundred 3.5-inch nails to be used as shrapnel for the bombs, which he specifically chose because they were long enough to penetrate organs in the human body, officials said.
Domingo drove his confederate and the undercover officer to Long Beach to scout the location that he planned to attack, and he allegedly talked about finding the most crowded areas so he could kill the most people.
On April 26, 2019, Domingo received what he thought were two live bombs, but were actually inert explosive devices delivered by an undercover law enforcement officer. He was arrested that same day with one of the bombs in his hands.
“Mr. Domingo represents the very real threat posed by homegrown violent extremists in the United States,” said Kristi K. Johnson, the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office.
Leading up to the attack, Domingo called for an event similar to the October 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas. And following an attack on Muslims in New Zealand in March 2019, Domingo called for retribution in an online post.
“At trial, [Domingo] testified and repeatedly affirmed that he intended to commit mass murder in March and April 2019,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum that recommended a sentence of life in prison. “He admitted that the [confidential informant] stopped him from committing at least one murder in April 2019 by encouraging him to be patient. Finally, he admitted that he was excited when he learned that the [confidential informant] had access to an individual who could construct a bomb, and that he was the one who chose to attack the rally, chose to use the bombs, and chose to go through with the plot to commit mass murder, right up until the moment of his arrest.”
The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force investigated this matter, with members including the FBI, the Los Angeles Police Department, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the Long Beach Police Department.