KEY WEST (CBSMiami) – Those who know Harlem Suarez, described as a self-professed ISIL adherent by the FBI, cannot believe what he’s being accused of.
“He’s not a terrorist,” said his ex-girlfriend Diane. “I don’t think he’s capable of doing it.”
Suarez’s ex-girlfriend, who did not want her face shown on camera, went as far as to describe Suarez as gullible.
She said Suarez would speak about ISIS or ISIL while they were together but she didn’t think much of it.
“His friends and everyone that knows him knows how he is,” she said. “He likes to talk a lot. He’s like a little kid. Everything he sees, everything you tell him, he believes it.”
It was at the Stock Island apartment where Suarez lived with his parents that federal agents say he planned to carry out an attack in South Florida on July 4th to kill large numbers of people. Word has quickly spread among his neighbors of his arrest.
“I feel bad for his mom because I know her and everything but I feel better because I know I’m going to be better without him,” said neighbor Yamirka Consuera. “He was doing all that stuff.”
According to investigators, back in May, Suarez discussed with a source testing his bomb-making capabilities outside the apartment in his garage.
In July, Suarez allegedly stopped at a Home Depot and purchased two boxes of galvanized nails and, according the criminal complaint, Suarez provided a source with the “galvanized nails, a prepaid cell phone and a backpack for use in construction of the bomb.”
Despite everything that his ex-girlfriend has heard, she believes he’s a good person.
“He’d talk about how if he won the lottery, he’d help the kids, the commercials on TV when they’d talk about different kids or families or homeless kids, he’d talk about that,” she said. “He bought my little cousins stuff at K-Mart when we used to go. He’s a good person.”
The ex-girlfriend says Suarez attended Key West High School but dropped out and was recently working at a creperie restaurant in the area.