A Virginia man charged with providing material support to terrorists abroad appeared in court today requesting an attorney be appointed to him.
Zachary Chesser, 20, is accused of trying to join Al-Shabaab, a Somali-based Islamist militant group suspected in the recent bombing attacks in Uganda that left 73 dead and dozens more injured as they watched the World Cup final.
“I’m shocked—I’m just surprised,” said Yvette Deale, Chesser’s former neighbor. “It’s not the kind of thing I would have expected in this neighborhood.”
Chesser, who just two years ago
was a high school football player and crew member in Fairfax, VA, is now one of 34 Americans accused of and charged with having ties to international terrorists in the past 18 months.
Sources say this trend represents an unprecedented spike in homegrown terror and is an emerging threat that has them deeply concerned. What they consider to be most alarming is the fact that many of those charged were radicalized on the Internet, with thousands of Americans reportedly frequenting terror websites that espouse mass murder.
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