A North Carolina Man was arrested on Thursday for trying to recruit people to join ISIS. Police also state he is connected to a 2015 shooting that took place at a Muhammad cartoon drawing contest. Erik Jamal Hendricks was charged with providing material support to a terrorist organization and charged in Ohio. He is facing federal charges and will be brought to Cleveland for prosecution for reaching out to a man in northeast Ohio to coerce the man into recruiting others.
Prior to his recent arrest Hendricks reportedly was in contact with Elton Simpson shortly before he opened fire on a group of people attending “The First Annual Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest” in Garland, Texas in May 2015. Hendricks reportedly sent someone who he was communicating with to carry out a second attack in Garland on the same day. Unbeknownst to Hendricks, that man was a undercover FBI agent and no second attack was carried out.
Hendricks did most of his communicating and recruiting through social media. Shortly following the attack in Garland Hendricks “took a break” for fear that he would be connected to the terrorist activity. FBI investigators heavily monitored Hendricks during this time period. They stated he tried to be careful but at the same time openly spoke about an attack he was planning and tried to recruit people to join him.
Hendricks ramped up his recruiting efforts in recent months, actively attempting to meet potential terrorists in person to discuss the attack. In online messages with the FBI informant he claimed that he had several “brothers” in Texas and Mexico and wanted to bring them together to train as one. He encouraged everyone he met with to refuse to go to jail if caught and die as a martyr.
According to police Hendricks faces up to 15 years in prison.