Troubled vet who claimed to be in ISIS sentenced

A veteran with post-traumatic stress syndrome who was arrested on felony gun charges after claiming to be a member of the Islamic State group was sentenced to six months in jail by a San Mateo County court this morning.

David Diaz, 55, was also sentenced to three years probation, during which he will be required to abstain from alcohol and drugs. As part of his probation, Diaz will be barred from possession of firearms or ammunition, according to District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.

On Oct. 7, Diaz went to a sports apparel store in the Hillsdale Shopping Center in San Mateo and requested that they embroider the words “We Love Isis,” on his hat. Diaz claimed that as a member of the Islamic State group, he'd beheaded 97 nuns, and questioned the store clerk about her religion, according to Wagstaffe.

San Mateo police officers and FBI agents subsequently went to Diaz's house, where they found six rifles, two handguns, a sawed-off shotgun and magazines that are illegal under state law. Diaz was also in possession of a fully automatic assault rifle, according to Wagstaffe.

Prosecutors said Diaz denied any loyalty to the Islamic State group, but investigators discovered that he's a veteran suffering from PTSD on numerous psychiatric medications. Diaz's guns were confiscated and he was committed to a hospital on a psychiatric hold, according to Wagstaffe.

Diaz pleaded no contest to the charges against him in exchange for a referral to veterans court, but the prosecution and probation officer recommended against admitting him. The judge denied his request to join the program, according to Wagstaffe.

“It's a court to take defendants who are veterans and have some special needs, usually mental health,” Wagstaffe said. “It gets them connected to services, housing, and specialized probation officers who make sure they stay on their meds.”

The FBI and Diaz's defense attorney, Charles Smith, could not be reached for comment.

Bay Area NewsCrimeCrime & CourtsDavid DiazRedwood CitySan Mateo County District Attorney's Office

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