Dolphin Mall threatened by ISIS bomber

Kristine Toraya, Section Editor

Dolphin Mall is a very popular place for both tourists and residents of Miami alike, with its wide range of clothing stores and entertainment centers like the movie theater, bowling alley, or gaming center.

“Dolphin Mall is such a big and popular place in Miami that thousands of people go to every single day. It is always so full,” said senior Kelly Cortada.

As an iconic city center, the mall was the target for an intended terrorist attack on Friday, Oct. 20, by Vicente Adolfo Solano. Solano, 53, has been under investigation since late September when he uploaded several videos agreeing with and promoting ISIS, a jihadist terrorist group. In these videos, he referenced how he will mimic the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing in Dolphin Mall.

Solano’s intention was to injure and affect as many people as he possibly could. According to NBC, he mentioned to an undercover FBI agent that it did not matter what day the attack took place “as long as there is a lot of people.”

On the day of the attempted attack, Solano assembled the bomb and placed it in a piece of luggage that he would leave amid the shoppers of the mall. However, since he was in the company of the agent, officials arrested him as soon ashe exited the vehicle, before any damage could be done. Officials said shoppers were never in true danger as Solano was being monitored.

“I was there with my family that day and I remember the mall being extra full. If that bomb would have actually gone off, it could have caused severe damage and hurt a lot of people,” said senior Julio Rabelo.

Records show that Solano has a history of several minor crimes that include 47 traffic citations, according to NBC. He remains in federal custody where he will receive a court hearing on Thursday, Oct. 26. Solano is scheduled for arraignment on Nov. 6, where his federal charges against will be presented, commencing the trial.

Sweetwater Chief of police, Placido Diaz, spoke out to the public in regards to the event stating, “We are aware statistically that Dolphin Mall is one of the three largest venues in the state of Florida and we take measures to ensure that there’s enough police visibility and proactive work being done there.”