Michigan Teen Who Was Arrested In Alleged Plot to Shoot Up Synagogue: 'The World Just Sucks Ass.'

June 17, 2023, 6:42 PM by  Allan Lengel

Seann Patrick Pietila (Photo in court fiile)

An Upper Peninsula teenager, who appeared fed up with life and fond of neo-Nazis, was arrested Friday on allegations that he made threats to pull off a mass shooting at the Shaarey Zedek synagogue on Coolidge Road in East Lansing.

The arrest of Seann Patrick Pietila came on the same day truck driver Robert Bowers was convicted in the Oct. 17, 2018 shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh that killed 11. 

Pietila, 19, of Pickford, Mich., faces charges of writing threats on social media  including Instagram. He also wrote a note referencing the synagogue attack in 2024, on the five-year anniversary of the 2019 Christchurch mosque shootings in New Zealand. The shooter, Brenton Tarrant, who live steamed his attack, is serving life in prison for killing 51 people and injuring 40 others.

"This world just sucks ass. I won’t be taken alive I’ll make sure of that. Remember 'Heil Hitler!' boom red mist gotta make it unique I guess. Maybe. I just need a camera for streaming and some more magazines," he wrote on Instagram June 1, according to an FBI affidavit. " Don’t wanna run out of mags and have to reload one."

Days before, he wrote: "Michigan ain’t got that many kikes thankfully. Just lots of Finns and Germans."

FBI agents on Friday arrested Pietila and searched his home where they found  seven short and long guns, knives, tactical equipment, a camouflage and a black tactical vest, black skull masks, a red and white Nazi flag, a ghillie suit, gas masks, military sniper/survival manuals and notes on his phone referring to plans to kill members of the East Lansing synagogue on March 15, 2024. Those plans also listed weapons to be used in the attack.

FBI agent Ryan Roskey, in the court affidavit, wrote that Pietila "has communicated Neo-Nazi style ideology, antisemitism, suicidal ideologies, glorification of past mass shooters (that advocate similar ideology), and a desire and his intent to mimic past mass shooters/mass casualty incidents pulling off the attack."

He also wrote that agents found a Pinterest account that included Nazi imagery and mass killers. 

While the teen expressed admiration on social media for the New Zealand mass killer, he wrote on social media:

"That’s why I gotta make it mostly my own. Don’t wanna seem like a copycat attack. "

Pietila attended Lansing Eastern High School in the 2020-2021 school year, according to the affidavit. He previously attended high school in Pickford, in the Upper Peninsula.

The FBI affidavit says that he had previously lived with his mother in East Lansing and was "most likely" in that city when he communicated threats on Instagram.

After his arrest he "told investigators that he did not intend on following through with the mass killings that he spoke about" on social media.

Read Affidavit


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