NJ man charged in attack on church concert had white nationalist propaganda, cops say
⛪ A grand jury has indicted an NJ man for an attack on a group leaving a church concert
⛪ He's accused of yelling 'white lives matter' before throwing smoke bombs
⛪ A search of his home found hundreds of rounds of ammo and white nationalist propaganda, officials said
ASBURY PARK — A grand jury has indicted a Toms River man on upgraded charges for throwing smoke bombs and yelling "white lives matter" at a crowd leaving an anti-racism concert at a church, according to authorities.
Nicholas Mucci has been held at Monmouth County jail since his arrest in March in connection to the attack at Trinity Episcopal Church in Asbury Park on Jan. 27, just one week after his 28th birthday. The indictment, which was announced by the Attorney General's Office on Wednesday, includes more than twice as many charges as Mucci faced when he was first arrested.
Mucci is now charged with second-degree aggravated arson, two counts of second-degree causing widespread injury, two counts of third-degree possession of a destructive device, two counts of third-degree aggravated assault, two counts of third-degree terroristic threats, third-degree hindering, and five weapons offenses.
"The rich diversity of cultures, religions, and ideals in New Jersey is one of our State’s greatest strengths and what had brought celebrants to Trinity Parish at the time of the alleged attack," First Assistant Attorney General Lyndsay Ruotolo said.
Terror at Asbury Park church concert
The anti-racism concert on Jan. 27 was organized by the One People's Project. The group says on X, formerly known as Twitter, that it is a resource for people fighting fascism, "especially those who don't play nice!"
As people were leaving the concert around 9 p.m., they were confronted in the parking lot by a man wearing a black face covering who was blocking the exit, according to a criminal complaint
"White lives matter too," Mucci shouted before throwing three smoke bombs at the crowd, officials said. He's accused of then driving off in a dark-colored SUV and circling the block around the church for around an hour.
Shortly after 10 p.m., Mucci drove back into the church parking lot, the complaint said. Only a few people from the crowd were still there and he got out of the vehicle.
"White lives matter," Mucci yelled as he tried to pepper spray the group before leaving again, according to the complaint.
Search finds white nationalist propaganda, officials say
Authorities said in the days following the attack, Mucci posted several times on social media about the attack including a video of him driving away from the church that night. He complained that the bear spray he used had burned his eyes, according to officials.
Investigators later searched Mucci's home. They reported finding white nationalist propaganda at the house and in his vehicle.
They also found an "AR-style assault rifle" along with hundreds of rounds of ammo and several large-capacity magazines, officials said.
Mucci faces five weapons charges including second-degree possession of an assault firearm, third-degree possession of a large capacity magazine, two counts of third-degree weapon possession for unlawful purposes, and fourth-degree unlawful possession of a weapon.