MILWAUKEE -- A 23-year-old Milwaukee man accused of plotting a mass shooting at a Masonic temple says the accusations against him are not true. FOX6 News on Thursday, January 28th obtained audio from Samy Mohammed Hamzeh's initial appearance in federal court, which took place on Tuesday. We have also received a message from Hamzeh's family -- saying that he is not a terrorist.
Samy Mohammed Hamzeh
Hamzeh is accused of telling two confidential sources about his plan to kill at least 30 people, visiting a shooting range, touring a Masonic temple, and then purchasing machine guns and silencers from undercover FBI agents. Hamzeh's alleged conversations with the confidential sources regarding his alleged plan were recorded.
Hamzeh is facing federal charges -- accused of possessing machine guns and silencers.
Federal officials are not saying which Masonic temple was targeted.
However, Frank Struble, the grand master of Wisconsin's Free and Accepted Masons said the targeted temple offers tutoring for children, the only one in Milwaukee to do so. That's the Humphrey Scottish Rite Masonic Center at Van Buren and Wells.
Humphrey Scottish Rite Masonic Center in downtown Milwaukee
Inside a federal courtroom, a man accused of plotting a mass shooting sits before a judge. Cameras are not allowed inside federal courtrooms -- but audio is used for the record.
Hamzeh was arrested on January 25th, after meeting up with undercover FBI agents to purchase the machine guns and silencers.
Audio recording from Hamzeh's initial appearance in court:
In court, Hamzeh was first instructed to read a criminal complaint outlining the details of his case.
Judge: "Do you understand the allegations?"
Hamzeh: "Yes, I do understand, but I don't agree with it."
The assistant U.S. attorney then laid out the punishment involved -- 10 years in prison for each count of illegally possessing machine guns.
Hamzeh again denied any wrongdoing.
Judge: "Do you understand the penalties the assistant U.S. attorney put on the record?"
Hamzeh: "Yes, I understand, but this is not true sir."
Officials with the U.S. attorney's office then made their case as to why Hamzeh should continue to be held by authorities.
"In addition to the serious risk he poses to society, he also has a flight risk which the court must address," said the assistant U.S. attorney.
The judge agreed, and a preliminary hearing was scheduled -- but not without Hamzeh, again, making a plea to speak.
Hamzeh: "You're not going to hear anything from me now?"
Judge: "Nothing at this point, no. We're done."
Hamzeh's next hearing is scheduled for February 9th. He will be able to enter a plea then.
On Wednesday, January 27th, FOX6 News learned Hamzeh had been moved to the Kenosha County Jail from the Waukesha County Jail. He was transferred there on Tuesday evening. A source told FOX6 News Hamzeh was on suicide watch at the Kenosha County Jail. He remains a federal prisoner who is simply being housed in Kenosha as he awaits his next court appearance.