Fountain Hills, AZ – A man who was shot after he threatened a Maricopa County sheriff’s sergeant has been charged with two counts of terrorism after authorities discovered a connection to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).
Ismael Hamed, 18, repeatedly called 911 on Jan. 7 and said he needed to speak with a deputy from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office at the Fountain Hills substation, the Arizona Republic reported.
At about 5:35 p.m., a sheriff’s sergeant went out to the substation parking lot to talk to Hamed, but the man began throwing rocks at him.
Then he pulled out a knife and brandished it at the law enforcement officer, the Arizona Republic reported.
The sergeant, a 12-year veteran of the sheriff’s department, ordered Hamed to drop his knife multiple times, but the 18 year old did not comply.
So the sergeant discharged his weapon and “incapacitated the suspect,” the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office said, according to KTVK.
Hamed was transported to a nearby hospital for treatment, and then released into the custody of the sheriff’s department.
He remained in custody on a $500,000 cash-only bond, KTVK reported.
Hamed was already facing two counts of aggravated assault on a police officer and one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon when the allegations of terrorist connections came up.
The terrorism charges were filed separately on Tuesday, according to KNXV.
Court records showed the first terrorism charge accused Hamed of providing “advice, assistance, direction or management to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).”
The second terrorism count was related to his actions at the sheriff’s substation on the night he was shot, the Arizona Republic reported.
“It’s too early to know what all of the facts are, but this is absolutely consistent with somebody answering a call for Jihad on a lone wolf basis,” former U.S. Attorney Andrew Pacheco told KTVK.
No further court records with additional information about Hamed’s arrest were available.
A Maricopa Superior Court official told the Arizona Republic that a judge had ordered the case sealed.
Pacheco has no connection to the investigation but theorized that authorities may have become aware of the ISIS connection during detectives’ interviews with Hamed after he was shot.
“They likely conducted an interview, and let’s face it – people who engage in terrorist activities are quite proud of what they’ve done and so they often like to talk about it,” the former prosecutor said.