Michigan man arrested for planning mass shooting attack at East Lansing synagogue, prosecutors say

19-year-old with ties to East Lansing accused of communications containing threats

A note found on a 19-year-old Michigan man's phone. The man is accused of plotting to attack an East Lansing synagogue. The image comes from a criminal complaint filed on June 16, 2023. (WDIV)

PICKFORD, Mich. – A 19-year-old Michigan man was arrested last week for planning a mass shooting attack at an East Lansing synagogue, according to prosecutors.

U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan Mark Totten announced on Friday, June 16, that Seann Patrick Pietila of Pickford, Michigan, was arrested by FBI agents and accused of transmitting a communication containing a threat to injure another.

“Antisemitic threats and violence against our Jewish communities -- or any other group for that matter -- will not be tolerated in the Western District of Michigan,” said U.S. Attorney Mark Totten. “Today and every day we take all credible threats seriously. I’m incredibly grateful to the FBI for their swift action to identify and arrest Pietila.”

A criminal complaint filed on Friday details how Pietila communicated with others on social media who shared a neo-Nazi ideology. The discussions also glorified past mass shooters and showed a desire to mimic past mass shooters.

Pietila’s Pickford home was searched by the FBI on Friday. Investigators found ammunition, magazines, a shotgun, a rifle, a pistol, various knives, firearms accessories, tactical vests, mask, a Nazi flag, a ghillie suit, gas masks, and military sniper/survival manuals.

Pietila’s iPhone was among the items seized. A note on the iPhone identified a synagogue in East Lansing, a date, and a list of equipment.

About the Author:

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.