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3News Investigates: Stow soldier accused of trying to aid ISIS



Father of Cole James Bridges is a profession Military soldier who buddies say stays surprised by son’s arrest.

STOW, Ohio — A soldier from Stow, accused of trying to assist ISIS terrorists in acts of violence, was raised in a army household headed by a father who nonetheless serves within the Military.

Cole James Bridges, 20, stays in federal custody after his preliminary court docket look Thursday in U.S. District Court docket in Augusta, Georgia. He’s anticipated to be transported later to New York, the place the case shall be dealt with.

No bond was set in the course of the video listening to. Bridges additionally didn’t enter a plea to the 2 prices, every of which carries as much as 20 years in jail.

He’s accused of trying to supply assist to ISIS and trying to plot to kill fellow troopers and different army members.

His court-appointed legal professional, Brian Huffman, requested that Bridges’ charging paperwork not bodily accompany him throughout transport to keep away from any potential abuse.

In the meantime, 3News Investigates has discovered extra about Bridges’ life and the way his Military household wound up in Stow after travelling the nation whereas his father serves for the U.S. Military.

Court docket information in Montgomery County, Tennessee present Bridges’ mother and father divorced in 2016. The Bridges have two different sons, ages 16 and 11.

After the divorce, his mom remarried a former soldier and firefighter and relocated to Ohio. Bridges’ step-father is initially from Northeast Ohio and has a younger daughter.

The blended household lives in Stow, simply north of Akron, in a duplex positioned within the low-traffic, sometimes suburban neighborhood. These dwelling close by had been guarded of their feedback, however some expressed concern about Bridges’ youthful brothers and the way they could be handled at college.

Others puzzled how a army household’s son apparently grew to become radicalized and tried to aspect with one of many world’s most violent terrorist teams.

“Anybody will be radicalized, as regrettable as it’s,” mentioned neighbor Ralph Denunzio. “We don’t know what drove Cole to that.”

“As you recognize, the web breaks down all of these obstacles. Anyone who’s susceptible to be radicalized can discover a discussion board to permit that to occur.”

Bridges solely briefly lived on-and-off in Stow, relocating there periodically after graduating from highschool in 2018 in Georgia, the place his father relies. Mates say he labored odd jobs, together with a pizza store for a short while in Akron.

In September 2019, he adopted his father’s footsteps and enlisted within the U.S. Military. He was stationed at Fort Stewart in Georgia on the time of his arrest. Federal authorities say quickly after enlisting, he started “researching and consuming on-line propaganda selling jihadists and their violent ideology.”

By the next yr, he was deployed in Germany and that’s the place prosecutors say his life absolutely unraveled.

For months, from August 2020 to this week, Bridges communicated with who he thought was an ISIS loyalist, prosecutors say. As an alternative, he was speaking to an undercover FBI agent and informant, discussing ISIS and offering data to assist them “plot” assaults.

Authorities allege he talked of bombings, together with the 9/11 Memorial in New York Metropolis, and his indifference of killing fellow troopers.

It ended Tuesday along with his arrest introduced by U.S. attorneys, a growth his army father solely discovered Wednesday and is claimed to be “reeling” in disbelief.

Bridges faces as much as 40 years in federal jail, if convicted.



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