Casey Charles Spain was released from a Virginia state prison on August 11, 2017, following a seven-year sentence for a conviction for abduction with intent to defile. The Virginia Department of Correction notified the FBI about Spain, alleging that he had been radicalized in prison. He had obtained a tattoo on his cheek that reads "Cop Killa" and a tattoo of the ISIS flag on his back. Two prison informants also reported that Spain had sworn allegiance to ISIS while incarcerated. Eight days after Spain's release from prison, the FBI introduced an informant to him. Spain told the informant about his desire to travel to Syria and join ISIS. As part of a sting operation, the informant and an FBI undercover agent sold Spain a gun. Spain, as a felon, could not legally possess a firearm.