Days before he was charged with plotting a terror attack, Everitt Aaron Jameson went with his father and some friends to an Oakland Raiders game.
His father said everything seemed fine and that his son expressed no anger and plans for violence.
"It was a great time. It was a great game," Gordon Jameson told the Merced Sun-Star.
His family said they cannot believe charges by the FBI that Everitt Jameson planned to launch a suicide attack on Christmas Day at a popular San Francisco tourist attraction.
Family members say Jameson, a 26-year-old tow truck driver and former Marine, was depressed and even suicidal over losing custody of his children and had begun studying Islam about a year ago. But they insist he never talked about violence or being influenced by terrorist groups.
"He just ain't no terrorist, no way," his father told the Sun-Star. "He would never hurt people. Not ever. It's just unbelievable. That's not who he is."
Acting on tips from an informant, authorities said they saw that Jameson liked and loved pro-Islamic State and pro-terrorism Facebook posts. In the coming weeks, the FBI alleged, Jameson would plot a Christmas suicide terror attack on San Francisco's Pier 39,
"He had been there before and knew that it was a heavily crowded area," an FBI affidavit filed Friday said. "Jameson explained that he also desired to use explosives, and described a plan in which explosives could 'tunnel' or 'funnel' people into a location where Jameson could inflict casualties."
Authorities announced terrorism charges against Jameson on Friday. His suspected plot comes as Islamic State has called for attacks on Western cities around the Christmas holiday.
Authorities claim in court documents that Jameson told an undercover FBI employee he believed to be a senior Islamic State leader that Pier 39 would be an ideal location for a terrorist attack because it is often crowded with tourists. On Monday, he sent the undercover employee a map and photos of the site, authorities said.
Jameson, authorities said, sought from the undercover employee an assault rifle, ammunition, powder, tubing, nails, timers and remote detonators — materials that can be made into a pipe bomb. According to the FBI, he said he "did not need an escape plan because he was ready to die." He also said he was trained in both the M-16 and AK-47 rifles, the court filing said.
The suspect, authorities said, told the undercover employee that "we need something along the lines of New York or San Bernardino," apparently referring to the Halloween attack in Manhattan when a man crashed a rented pickup into cyclists and runners, which killed eight people, and the terrorist attack in Southern California in 2015 that left 14 people fatally shot.
FBI agents conducted a search warrant on Wednesday at the suspect's Modesto home and found a note signed by Abdallah abu Everitt ibn Gordon al-Amriki, dated Dec. 16, which in part said, "I Abdallah [abu] Everitt ibn Gordon have committed these acts upon the Kuffar [non-Muslims], in the name of Dar al Islam [the Muslim world], Allahu Akbar!"
"You've Allowed Donald J Trump to give away Al Quds [Jerusalem] to the Jews. Both You and he are wrong, it belongs to the Muslemeen [Muslims]," the letter allegedly says. "Long Live Isil, Long Live Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi."
The FBI also said that it had seized firearms and ammunition from the home.
Jameson completed basic U.S. Marine Corps recruit training in 2009 and earned a sharpshooter rifle qualification, according to the affidavit. He was discharged for failing to disclose a history of asthma.
Late Monday, Jameson told the undercover employee that "I … don't think I can do this after all. I've reconsidered."
After securing a warrant, the FBI conducted a search of Jameson's home Wednesday. Jameson "discussed aspects of the plan to carry out an attack, noting he would be happy if an attack was carried out," the affidavit said.
Those who knew Jameson said he had been consumed over a court battle for custody of his children but that they never heard him talk about terrorism.
The owner of the towing company where Jameson worked also said the accusations are stunning,