A Staten Island man has been arrested for allegedly trying to attack FBI agents with a knife today as they tried to conduct a search of his home as part of an ongoing terror investigation. NY1's Dean Meminger filed this report.
Fareed Mumuni quietly stood in federal court Wednesday and answered questions with a polite "yes."
However, the FBI said just hours before he lunged at an agent with this kitchen knife while his house was being searched for evidence that he supported the Islamic State terror group.
"It is way too early in the case to be commenting on the accuracy or reliability of the allegations. This is just a felony complaint. We are very early in the case," said Defense Attorney Anthony Ricco.
The criminal complaint says that as agents tried to restrain him, "Mumuni repeatedly attempted to plunge the kitchen knife into the torso of an FBI Special Agent and reached out with his hand in the vicinity of a rifle used by another member of law enforcement."
Mumuni was raised on Staten Island after immigrating from West Africa, but the FBI said he hoped to join the Islamic State and that if he couldn't, he intended to attack police here in New York.
His family sat in court for the hearing.
"His mom, his close family relatives, they are all here to support him and they are surprised by the charges. They know him to be a quiet, soft-spoken college student," said Ricco.
The FBI said the 21-year-old admitted that he had discussed the construction of a pressure cooker bomb with Munther Omar Saleh of Queens, who was arrested Saturday on charges of plotting to attack a city landmark.
Investigators said Salef told them Mumuni wanted to help with the plot. Mumuni's uncle believes the friend was trying to get a reduced sentence from the feds.
Uncle: "So they just want to get something and say 'alright, and if you can give us somebody then maybe that will reduce his sentence,'" his uncle said.
Reporters: "Is this his friend? Do you recognize him? He was arrested Saturday.”
Uncle: "If he had a friend that did something, that was the friend."
Defense attorneys point out that this was a search warrant and not an arrest warrant for Mumuni. They say they plan to plead not guilty on all charges at the next court hearing."
For now, Mumuni is being held without bail.