Mark Adams Prieto allegedly planned to orchestrate a mass shooting ahead of the presidential election

<p>Getty</p> Stock image of flashing lights on top of police patrol car


Stock image of flashing lights on top of police patrol car

  • Mark Adams Prieto was indicted after he allegedly attempted to incite a race war

  • The Arizona man was allegedly planning a mass shooting in Atlanta before the upcoming election

  • He was arrested in May, and indicted by a federal grand jury on Tuesday, June 11

An Arizona man allegedly planned a mass shooting at a May concert in Atlanta with the intent to incite a race war ahead of the presidential election, according to federal authorities.

Mark Adams Prieto, 58, was indicted by a federal grand jury on Tuesday, June 11 on charges of firearms trafficking, transfer of a firearm for use in a hate crime and possession of an unregistered firearm, per a press release from U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona.

The indictment follows the FBI’s five-month investigation, which concluded with Prieto’s arrest in May. Throughout the investigation, the FBI learned that Prieto allegedly had discussions with two other individuals to “devise a plan to commit a mass shooting of African Americans and other minorities to incite a race war prior to the 2024 United States Presidential Election.”

The investigation was instigated in October when FBI Phoenix was alerted by a source that an individual — who was later identified as Prieto — allegedly expressed a desire to incite a race war, per the arrest affidavit obtained by PEOPLE.

The source allegedly informed authorities that they spoke with Prieto more than 15 times over three years at various gun shows. Prieto allegedly began to make suspicious and alarming comments as their conversations leaned more political. Per the affidavit, Prieto began advocating for a mass shooting and was “specifically targeting Blacks, Jews or Muslims.”

In late 2023, Prieto allegedly asked the source if they were “ready to kill a bunch of people.” His question followed Prieto’s belief that “martial law will be implemented shortly after the 2024 election and that a mass shooting should occur prior.”

Related: Texas Man Arrested After Officials Allegedly Intercept His Plans For a Mass Shooting at Walmart

Matti Blume/Wikimedia Commons FBI Police Vehicles at Hoover BuildingMatti Blume/Wikimedia Commons FBI Police Vehicles at Hoover Building

Matti Blume/Wikimedia Commons FBI Police Vehicles at Hoover Building

He was a vendor at gun shows in Prescott, Ariz., and traded firearms from his personal collection. However, he would only conduct cash deals or trades in an effort to evade the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, per the arrest affidavit. This was allegedly later confirmed through observation with help from the source. Prieto was under FBI surveillance from January to March.

Then, when the surveillance began, on Jan. 21 in Phoenix, Prieto allegedly expressed to the source and an undercover FBI agent that he wanted their assistance in completing a mass shooting targeting African Americans at a rap concert in Atlanta, according to the affidavit.

<p>Getty</p> Stock image of crime scene tape police line do not cross.<p>Getty</p> Stock image of crime scene tape police line do not cross.


Stock image of crime scene tape police line do not cross.

Prieto also said that he wanted to target a rap concert because “there would be a high concentration of African Americans at the concert,” per the affidavit. He allegedly said he planned to leave Confederate flags after the shooting and wanted to show “no mercy, no quarter.”

He said he wanted to shout “whities out here killing, what’s we gonna do” and “KKK all the way,” per the affidavit.

He told both the source and undercover agent that the attack was to follow Super Tuesday (March 5, 2024) “so that they would know the election candidates,” according to the affidavit. He also told both what weapons he planned to use, and suggested the group travel to Atlanta before the plan to store weapons.

Prieto stressed to both that the most important thing was “a high body count,” per the affidavit.

<p>Getty</p> Police tape night time stock image<p>Getty</p> Police tape night time stock image


Police tape night time stock image

Related: School Nurse Charged in Student’s Rape Allegedly Planned to ‘Start Killing People’ in Mass Shooting

In February, Prieto — who was under surveillance — allegedly went to a gun show in Phoenix and asked the source and the undercover agent if they were still going to participate in the mass shooting. The following day, he allegedly sold a firearm to the undercover agent for $2,000.

The following month, on March 23, Prieto told the undercover agent he intended to move forward with the shooting while both were at a gun show in Prescott Valley, Ariz. He said they should not wait until after the election, but rather the rap concert that was going to take May 14 and May 15, or sometime in June or July, per the affidavit. While authorities did not identify whose concert Prieto planned to attack, the two proposed dates coincided with the two nights Bad Bunny was performing.

Then, on March 24, Prieto allegedly sold an AR-15 rifle to the undercover agent for $1,000 and directed him to use it for the attack, the affidavit says.

The following month, at another Prescott Valley gun show, the undercover agent inquired if the attack was still set for May, but Prieto allegedly said he wanted to move it to a later date, per the affidavit.

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On May 14, Prieto was arrested on a New Mexico interstate. At the time of arrest, he allegedly confirmed he knew both the source and the undercover agent and discussed orchestrating a mass shooting in Atlanta. Prieto also admitted he sold an AR-15 to the undercover agent as well as told the agent the weapon would be good for the shooting, per the affidavit.

During the arrest, he had seven firearms in his vehicle and was then taken into federal custody, per the U.S. Attorney’s Office press release. After the arrest, authorities received a search warrant at his home and recovered additional firearms, including an unregistered short-barreled rifle, the press release says.

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