GODFREY, ILL. - They are chilling charges against a Godfrey teenager.
He's accused of conspiring with a terrorist group to carry out mass casualty attacks on multiple venues in Madison County.
On a regular looking neighborhood on a dead end street in Godfrey is a house where authorities say an 18-year-old was masterminding a mass murder plot
To law enforcement, Keaun Cook is a suspected terrorist, but to Lester Bradford, “he's just a little neighborhood kid.”
Bradford, who says he's known Cook for about 10 years, describes him as troubled, a wanna-be, but, he said, “I don't think he's no terrorist or anything like that.”
The Madison County Sheriff and State's Attorney have a different view. Cook, they say, was devising a plan to attack three or four Madison County venues.
“These are extremely serious allegations,” said Madison County State’s Attorney Thomas Gibbons. “The intent was to cause mass casualties.”
Bradford said, “In order to do that, you've gotta have connections to get things done.”
Authorities say Cook did, communicating through multiple channels, including e-mails and social media, they say, with a terrorist group.
Because the investigation is ongoing, they won't say which terrorist group, what venues were targeted or how Cook planned to carry out the attacks. Despite little information, the sheriff says the message is big.
“It's just very important that everyone understand the seriousness of this offense and that we were able to stop and save probably numerous lives,” said Madison County Sheriff John Lakin.
A tipster who overheard the threats notified the sheriff's office. Cook was arrested at his home, where he lives with family.
He's in the Madison County Jail and authorities say the threat is neutralized.