Authorities: Arizona Man Intended to Start Race War with Atlanta Concert Mass Shooting

Authorities Arizona Man Intended to Start Race War with Atlanta Concert Mass Shooting

After he reportedly tried to spark a race war, Mark Adams Prieto was charged with a crime.

A federal grand jury indicted the Arizona man on Tuesday, June 11, after he was reportedly plotting a mass shooting in Atlanta before the next election. He was apprehended in May.

Before the presidential election, federal investigators claim that an Arizona man plotted a mass shooting at a concert in Atlanta in May intending to start a racial conflict.

A press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, states that Mark Adams Prieto, 58, was indicted by a federal grand jury on Tuesday, June 11 on charges of trafficking in guns, transferring a handgun for use in a hate crime, and possessing an unregistered firearm.

Prieto’s arrest in May marked the end of the FBI’s five-month investigation, which was followed by the indictment. The FBI discovered over the course of the inquiry that Prieto was purportedly in talks with two other people 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 began in October after FBI Phoenix received a tip from a source claiming that someone, later identified as Prieto, had indicated a desire to start a race war, according to an arrest affidavit that PEOPLE was able to access.

Authorities Arizona Man Intended to Start Race War with Atlanta Concert Mass Shooting

Image: nbcnews

Authorities were purportedly told by the source that they had spoken with Prieto over fifteen times during the course of three years at different gun shows. The more political their chats became, the more Prieto allegedly started making frightening and suspicious comments. Prieto started pushing for a mass massacre and was “specifically targeting Blacks, Jews, or Muslims,” according to the affidavit.

Prieto allegedly asked the source whether they were “ready to kill a bunch of people” in late 2023. His inquiry was in response to Prieto’s assertion that “a mass shooting should occur before the implementation of martial law, which is expected to occur shortly after the 2024 election.”


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He exchanged guns from his collection while serving as a vendor at gun exhibitions in Prescott, Arizona. According to the arrest document, he would only make cash dealings or trades in an attempt to avoid the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives. With assistance from the source, this was purportedly subsequently verified by observation. From January to March, Prieto was the subject of FBI surveillance.

Prieto then allegedly told the source and an undercover FBI agent that he wanted their help finishing a mass shooting that targeted African Americans at a rap festival in Atlanta on January 21, the day the surveillance started in Phoenix, according to the complaint.

A rap event was the aim of Prieto’s statement, according to the affidavit, since “there would be a high concentration of African Americans at the concert.” After the shooting, he allegedly declared that he intended to show “no mercy, no quarter” by taking down Confederate flags.

As per the affidavit, he expressed his desire to yell, “KKK all the way” and “whities out here killing, what’s we gonna do.”

He informed the undercover agent and the source that the attack would take place after Super Tuesday, which falls on March 5, 2024, “so that they would know the election candidates,” as per the affidavit. Along with outlining the weaponry he intended to utilize, he advised the party to visit Atlanta prior to the weapon storage plan.

Per the affidavit, Prieto made sure that each of them understood that “a high body count” was the most crucial factor.

Under surveillance, Prieto allegedly asked the undercover agent and the source at a weapons exhibition in Phoenix in February if they were still planning to take part in the mass shooting. He supposedly made a $2,000 sale of a gun to the undercover agent the next day.

While attending a gun exhibition in Prescott Valley, Arizona, on March 23, the next month, Prieto informed the undercover agent that he planned to proceed with the shooting. He advised them to attend the rap event scheduled for May 14 and May 15, or sometime in June or July, instead of waiting until after the election, as stated in the affidavit. The two suggested dates coincided with the two nights Bad Bunny was performing, though investigators did not reveal which performance Prieto intended to target.

According to the affidavit, on March 24, Prieto reportedly gave the undercover agent a $1,000 AR-15 gun and instructed him to use it for the attack.

Prieto allegedly stated he intended to shift the attack to a later date when the undercover agent asked whether it was still scheduled for May at another gun show in Prescott Valley the following month, according to the affidavit.

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Prieto was taken into custody on an interstate in New Mexico on May 14. He stated planning an Atlanta mass massacre and admitted to knowing the undercover agent and source at the time of his detention. As to the document, Prieto acknowledged that he had sold an AR-15 to the undercover agent and informed the agent that the weapon would be suitable for the shooting.

He had seven weapons in his car when he was arrested, and according to a news statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, he was subsequently placed in federal detention. Authorities obtained a search order for his residence following the arrest, and they found other weapons there, including an unregistered short-barreled rifle, according to the news statement.

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