Suspected ISIS supporter pleads guilty to gun charge

By ZEINAB NAJM
Times-Herald Newspapers

HEIGHTS — Dearborn Heights resident Khalil Abu-Rayyan, a suspected supporter of ISIS, pleaded guilty Sept. 13 to possession of a firearm by a prohibited person and making a false statement to acquire a firearm.

If convicted on the felony charges, he could face a maximum of 10 years for each charge. His sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 9 at the U.S. District Court for Eastern District of Michigan before Judge George Steeh.

The plea was not part of any agreement with the government, federal prosecutors said.

Abu-Rayyan has been held in custody without bond since February after he was denied bond.

Government psychologist Chad Tillbrook examined Abu-Rayyan and said, “Abu-Rayyan is not presenting with any acute psychiatric symptoms and is not a substantial risk of causing bodily harm to others or serious damage to property of another due or mental illness” in his report.

Steeh denied the request last month due to the amount of social media posts and text messages to an undercover FBI agent showing Abu-Rayyan’s support for ISIS.

The initial incident occurred in May 2015 when Abu-Rayyan threatened to shoot up a church in Detroit in support of the designated terrorist group.

In October 2015, he purchased a .22-caliber revolver from a sporting goods store in Dearborn Heights, according to a Department of Justice press release.

At the time of purchase, Abu-Rayyan made a false statement on ATF Form 4473, stating “no” in response to a question that asks whether the purchaser is an unlawful user of a controlled substance.

The following month, Abu-Rayyan attempted to purchase another pistol from a different sporting goods store; however, due to pending state charges he was unable to purchase the pistol.

Abu-Rayyan again falsely stated on the same form that he was not an unlawful user of a controlled substance.

Since then, he has subsequently admitted to law enforcement that he was a habitual user of marijuana during the time period in which he purchased the revolver.

Abu-Rayyan has also since pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana in the state case and is currently awaiting trial in state court on the charge of carrying a concealed weapon in an automobile.

His attorney, Todd Shanker, did not return phone calls by publication.

(Zeinab Najm can be reached at zeinabnajm92@gmail.com.)