Bad Bunny "Most Wanted Tour" Miami
Alicia Civita

MIAMI - A grand jury in Arizona indicted this week a man who planned to conduct a mass shooting during Bad Bunny`s concert in Atlanta with the intention of "inciting a race war" ahead of the 2024 presidential elections, the U.S. Department of Justice revealed.

The man, identified as Mark Adams Prieto, faces charges of "Firearms Trafficking, Transfer of a Firearm for Use in a Hate Crime, and Possession of an Unregistered Firearm." According to the FBI's affidavit, he was being surveilled due to alarming comments that had been escalating for years, culminating in efforts to carry out a violent attack in a mass event. He had chosen Bad Bunny's show at State Farm Arena on the third weekend of May.

This disturbing plot comes close to the anniversary of the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando, where 49 people, many of whom were Latino, were killed on June 12, 2016. The tragedy remains one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history, underscoring the vulnerability of minority communities to such violent acts.

The case against Prieto

The affidavit submitted in court by members of the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force in Phoenix detailed how the investigation began in October 2023, when Prieto, a gun show vendor in Arizona, began expressing his desire to incite racial violence.

Mark Adams planning mass shootingon BadBunny concert Atlanta FBI
Courtesy FBI

His conversations at gun shows became increasingly radical, eventually mentioning plans for a mass shooting he shared with witnesses, including undercover FBI agents. His comments were documented in an FBI affidavit, which detailed his desire to recruit others to help carry out an attack at a rap concert, where he expected a high concentration of African Americans. He thought this would further the violent political agenda. He expected that after the election there would be a martial law in place, so "it was important to act before."

There is no explanation for why he chose Bad Bunny's show.

Hate crimes against Latinos are on the rise

Prieto`s arrest highlights the continued threat to minorities and the increasing focus on entertainment venues. Recent incidents include a shooting at a Dallas concert this April where one person was killed and eight others were injured, as well as a shooting in Las Vegas during a music festival on October 1, 2017.

While Prieto's intended targets were African Americans, most of Bad Bunny's fans are Latino. This demographic has been significantly impacted by racially motivated violence, including the 2019 El Paso shooting, where a gunman specifically targeted Latinos, resulting in 23 deaths.

Anti-Latino hate crimes increased by 2.8% from 2021 to 2022, according to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino. They spiked by 41% from 2020 to 2021, according to the center.

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