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California man busted in domestic terror plot wanted to kill LAPD officers

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By Andrew Blankstein and Pete Williams and Jonathan Dienst and Eric Leonard  with NBC News Politics
An LAPD officer's cap
An LAPD officer's cap   -   Copyright  Reuters   -  

A California man was arrested on terrorism-related charges after he was caught plotting to kill Los Angeles police officers, NBC News has learned.

The man — described as a former member of the U.S. military — had also discussed setting off explosives at the Santa Monica pier and on area freeways, according to multiple law enforcement sources.

The suspect, who allegedly voiced support for ISIS, was under surveillance for weeks after he posted online messages lamenting the killing of Muslims at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

The man had several guns and was allegedly attempting to obtain explosive materials when he was arrested in a sting operation, the sources said.

The arrest comes roughly six weeks after a gunman opened fire at two mosques in the city of Christchurch, killing 50 people.

The suspect, an 28-year-old Australian national and avowed white supremacist, live-streamed the attack on Facebook using a camera mounted to his helmet.

The gunman, identified as Brenton Tarrant, has been charged with 50 counts of murder and 39 counts of attempted murder.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called the mass murder "one of New Zealand's darkest days." Less than a week later, she announced plans to ban nearly all military-style semi-automatic and assault-style rifles.