Authorities across three different states arrested three men in their 20s who all allegedly made separate mass shooting threats.
In Florida, a 25-year-old man was arrested Friday for threatening to open fire at a “large crowd,” local authorities said. In Ohio, a 20-year-old man was arrested Saturday for allegedly threatening to carry out a shooting at a Jewish community center. In Connecticut, a 22-year-old who owned several weapons and tactical gear was arrested Thursday after making a threat on social media, officials said.
The different threats came as the country was still reeling from recent fatal mass shootings in El Paso, Dayton and Gilroy.
Florida: Man Arrested After Girlfriend Alerts Authorities of Threats
A Florida man has been charged for threatening to commit a mass shooting after his ex-girlfriend alerted authorities to a series of ominous text messages he sent her.
25-year-old Tristan Scott Wix was arrested on Friday in a Winn-Dixie parking lot in Daytona Beach Shores, the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.
Volusia County Sheriff Michael Chitwood said on CNN Sunday that Wix had sent the texts to his ex-girlfriend, who showed the messages to authorities.
“When you look at this kid’s background, he is the profile of a shooter,” Chitwood said. “He lost his job, he lost his girlfriend, he’s depressed, he’s got the ammunition and he wants to become known for being the most prolific killer in American history.”
Wix, of Daytona Beach, wrote about wanting to open fire on a large crowd of people, the sheriff’s office said. “A good 100 kills would be nice,” he wrote in one message, adding that he already had a location in mind. So far, Wix has not told investigators where he wanted to carry out the shooting, Chitwood said.
“A school is a weak target.. id be more likely to open fire on a large crowd of people from over 3 miles away.. I’d wanna break a world record for longest confirmed kill ever,” another message reads, according to the sheriff’s office.
Wix said he wanted to die and “have fun doing it.”
“Ah well even if you told someone, me saying I wanna do it and think about it is not the same as actually doing it lol. Was kinda hoping someone would come into my life worth not doing it for, for the sake of all those people (laughing cry face emoji). I’m not crazy I just wanna die and I wanna have fun doing it, but I’m the most patient person in the world,” Wix wrote in another message.
Chitwood said that authorities recovered a .22-caliber hunting rifle and 400 rounds of ammunition in his apartment. Wix had initially told investigators he did not own any firearms but that he was fascinated with mass shootings, the sheriff’s office said.
Wix was being held without bond Sunday at the Volusia County Branch Jail. It could not be immediately determined Sunday whether he has retained an attorney.
Ohio: Man Arrested After Threatening Shooting at Jewish Center
A 20-year-old man who allegedly threatened to carry out a shooting at a Jewish community center in Youngstown, Ohio, has been arrested, according to police.
James Patrick Reardon was booked into the Mahoning County Jail on Saturday on one count of telecommunications harassment and one count of aggravated menacing, according to online jail records.
New Middletown Police Chief Vincent D’Egidio said an Instagram account belonging to Reardon shared a video that showed a man firing a gun. The post, which was shown to an officer who was on an unrelated call, tagged the Jewish Community Center of Youngstown, D’Egidio told CNN in an interview. Youngstown is about 13 miles north of New Middletown.
Youngstown is also about 65 miles north of Pittsburgh, where a gunman targeted and killed 11 worshipers in a synagogue last October.
It’s unclear whether the man shooting the gun in the Instagram post was Reardon or someone else.
According to Andy Lipkin, the executive vice-president of the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation, the post was accompanied by a caption that read, “Police identified the Youngstown Jewish Family Community shooter as local white nationalist Seamus O’Rearedon.” That is a Gaelic version of Reardon’s name.
“With everything going on,” D’Egidio said, “we wanted to make sure we acted very quickly on this.”
When authorities looked at the rest of the Instagram account, there were lots of images of Reardon or someone else shooting guns, D’Egidio said, and lots of anti-Semitic comments and white nationalist content.
New Middletown police contacted the community center, Youngstown police and the FBI to make them aware of the threat. The Mahoning Valley Violent Crimes Task Force also helped, the police chief said, which is part of the FBI Violent Crimes Task Force.
“For a town of 1,700 people, this was a pretty intense situation,” D’Egidio told CNN.
Authorities knew based on public records that Reardon owned weapons, the police chief said, and they executed a search warrant at his home around 10:30 p.m. Friday night.
Reardon’s mother answered the door, and he arrived about 20 minutes after the search had started, D’Egidio said. There, police found a cache of weapons and ammunition.
Reardon was ultimately arrested without incident and taken to the county jail. His bond has been set at $250,000, and D’Egidio said he will be arraigned Monday morning.
It was unclear whether Reardon was represented by an attorney.
Connecticut: Man With Weapons, Tactical Gear Arrested After Facebook Threats
Connecticut authorities arrested a man who they said was interested in committing a mass shooting, had weapons and tactical gear, and made his intentions known on Facebook.
Brandon Wagshol, 22, was detained Thursday after a tip from a citizen that he was trying to buy large capacity rifle magazines from out of state, the FBI and the Norwalk Police Department said.
Wagshol has been charged with four counts of illegal possession of large capacity magazines, and is being held on a $250,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear in court September 6.
CNN has reached out to the prosecutor and defense attorney.
The FBI and Norwalk Police Department started investigating after the tip. They discovered the suspect was trying to build his own rifle and had posted on Facebook expressing an interest in committing a mass shooting, according to a statement from the police and the FBI. It did not provide details on what his post said.
When authorities executed a search warrant at his home, they found numerous weapons, including a handgun, a rifle, a rifle scope with laser, numerous rounds of ammunition, body armor, ballistic helmet and other tactical gear, police said. While some of the weapons were registered to his father, he had access to them, authorities said.
“We continue to urge the public to please remain alert and to report to law enforcement any suspicious activity that is observed either in person or online,” said Brian Turner, FBI special agent in charge . “With our local partners we gather, share and act upon threat information as it comes to our attention.”