FBI: Man scouted Ocala National Bank building as potential sniper's nest

Published: Mar. 7, 2018 at 6:39 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

UPDATE: Despite the defense's request for a minimum of seven years, the judge ultimately decided to sentence twenty-year-old Jonathan Beese to fifteen years in prison, followed by a lifetime of probation.

The judge's special conditions for Beese's probation will prohibit him from accessing the internet or having any type of device that has internet access.

He will not be allowed to have a passport and will have to wear a GPS monitor at all times.


The FBI says an Ocala man they've been watching for two years scouted out a location for a possible sniper attack.

The man was on the FBI’s radar after his mother says she found ISIS-related materials on his computer.

Troy Waranka says he's glad 19-year-old Jonathan Beese is behind bars after he planned a sniper attack, from the Ocala National Bank building.

Troy Waranka said, "If you're in downtown Ocala for an event, and they have a lot of events down here for kids, so if I would have brought my family and that would have happened it would have hit me in the heart."

FBI officials are now telling us while Beese was at the building, he took pictures and sent this message to his girlfriend saying," I found a good spot up here for a snipers nest. Could lock everything from the square to 14th and another few blocks down."

However before he got a chance to use the snipers nest he was arrested in 2017.

Beese and his girlfriend Kristen Sparks were arrested after investigators they broke into her father's car and stole weapons including an AK-47.

FBI officials say Beese's mother found content related to Islamic extremism on her son's laptop at their home.

She also found a copy of the Quran, prayer beads and a Muslim rope.

And investigators later learned that his girlfriend sparks had converted to Islam back in 2014.

Beese awaits his next court date in November.