Connecticut man admits to trying to help Islamic State group

Jan 12, 2023, 12:25 AM | Updated: 2:47 pm

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) — A 29-year-old Connecticut man pleaded guilty Thursday to a federal terrorism charge, more than three years after he was arrested at an airport while trying to travel to Syria to help the Islamic State group, officials said.

Kevin McCormick, of Hamden, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Bridgeport to attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, which carries up to 20 years in prison, according to the U.S. attorney’s office. Sentencing was set for April 6.

A public defender for McCormick, who has been detained since his arrest on Oct. 21, 2019, did not immediately return a message seeking comment Thursday.

Federal authorities said McCormick, a former contract driver for a large company, told several people he wanted to fight for the Islamic State group in Syria. He also pledged his allegiance to the IS and its leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, who took his own life on Oct. 27, 2019, as U.S. commandos closed in on him in northern Syria.

“It’s gotta be like Syria,” McCormick told a witness, according to federal prosecutors. “Where ISIL is at … whichever place is easiest, whatever place I can get there the fastest, the quickest, the easiest, and where I can have a rifle and I can have some people, bro.”

In September 2019, McCormick tried to buy a firearm and a knife in Washington state, but a clerk refused because McCormick was acting strange, authorities said. On Oct. 12, 2019, he tried to board a flight from Connecticut to Jamaica, where he planned catch another flight on his way to Syria, but Homeland Security officials would not let him on the plane, prosecutors said.

McCormick was arrested at a small, private airport in Connecticut, where he expected to board a plane to Canada and then fly to Jordan, prosecutors said.

During the criminal case, McCormick was ruled incompetent to stand trial, but was later ruled competent after receiving treatment at a federal prison.

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Connecticut man admits to trying to help Islamic State group