INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Jan. 15, 2015) - A 20-year-old American man that plotted to take down as many people as possible in an ISIS-inspired terrorist attack on the nation's capitol is the latest in what experts describe as a scary trend.
“Lone-wolf” terrorists are popping up throughout the U.S.
He was living with his parents in Cincinnati and Experts in Indiana are cautioning, that for all the FBI does, it's average Hoosiers that have to keep a watchful eye.
According to court documents, Cornell wanted to set off pipe bombs around the U.S. Capitol and shoot people as they fled.
"He was like a big kid. His best friend is his cat, Mikey and his mom,” said John Cornell, Lee Cornell’s father.
According to his family, Cornell was unemployed and lived at home with his parents. John Cornell told the media his son is more of a loner, not a homegrown terrorist.
"Yeah we do see people becoming radicalized on the internet quite often and it's just as simple as social media,” said Gary Coons, Director of Indianapolis Homeland Security.
The FBI first learned of Cornell's intentions through Twitter, where he allegedly posted statements and videos in support of ISIS.
In a story that aired in November on CBS 4’s news gathering partner, FOX 59 experts said targets like Indianapolis, with attacks carried out by Indiana residents isn’t impossible.
"We've got a lot of people who have been marginalized economically, socially, employment wise that are potentially interested in affiliating with someone who shows another way out,” said Peter Beering, a terrorism expert.
"The average citizen's role is incredibly important,” said John Erickson.
Erickson works with the Indiana Department of Homeland Security. Modern day terrorists he said are lone wolves, like Cornell, that require our eyes and ears, to bring to justice.
"They see their next-door neighbors, they see people walking down the street, they know these people. What they need to look for is suspicious activity and that's sometimes very difficult to quantify,” he said.
The key said Erickson is to stay aware and be on the lookout for changes in behavior, like a distancing of someone from their friends and family. It is then, experts say, they are more easily attracted to groups like ISIS.