A young Ohio woman who’s been corresponding with Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof and glorified the Columbine school massacre was arrested by the feds Monday on charges of plotting a domestic terror attack.
Elizabeth Lecron, 23, was allegedly planning to bomb a bar in Toledo, just nine miles northeast of her hometown of Maumee, Ohio.
“This defendant bought black powder and hundreds of screws that she expected would be used to make a bomb,” Justin E. Herdman, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, said at a press conference Monday. “Through her words and actions, she demonstrated that she was committed to seeing death and destruction in order to advance hate.”
According to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s office, Lecron got onto law enforcement’s radar when one of her associates tipped them off that she was planning a violent attack. She ran a Tumblr page called “CharlestonChurchMiracle” – named for Dylann Roof’s deadly attack on a historic black church in South Carolina in 2015, which left nine parishioners dead. On the page, which was still on Tumblr as of Monday, Lecron regularly posted memes and photos of famous mass shooters, violent images, and violent quotes.
Lecron and an associate also flew 1,200 miles just to visit Columbine High School, the site of what’s been described as the first modern school shooting; the 1999 shooting left 13 dead. Around that same time, she began corresponding with 24-year-old Roof, a self-avowed white supremacist, who is in federal prison and facing the death penalty for the Charleston murders. Federal authorities say that Lecron attempted to send Roof “Nazis literature.”
She plotted to commit “upscale mass murder” at a bar in Toledo, which is not identified, and told her associate that she knew that the bar had only two ways in or out, which she viewed as a tactical advantage for when police arrived.
Lecron’s ideological bent isn’t totally clear. Public records show that, as recently as 2017, she was a registered Democrat in Ohio. At one point in the year, she also discussed meeting “other anarchists in order to form a team,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s office, and wanted to damage a livestock farm “to set livestock free,” or target anything else that harmed the environment. Yet, she also seemed to ascribe to ideologies or figures associated with the far right, like Roof and the young white male Columbine shooters, who were obsessed with Nazism.
Last week, she discussed buying bomb-making materials with an undercover agent, and on Saturday, she purchased two pounds of black powder from a retail sporting good stores, and 665 screws of various sizes from another retailer.
“Removing Elizabeth Lecron from the ranks of civilized society by virtue of arrest and prosecution thwarts her explicitly stated desire to engage in acts of death and destruction,” said FBI Acting Special Agent in Charge Jeff Fortunato in a statement. “This case is a testament to the value of an ever vigilant public, which had the courage to alert law enforcement as to the evil goals and intentions of this suspect.”
News of Lecron’s arrest coincides with the announcement of another arrest in Toledo. Federal authorities said Monday that last week they arrested an ISIS-inspired man who was plotting an attack on a synagogue in Toledo. He was arrested on Friday evening, after he purchased two AR-15 rifles. He planned to carry out an attack on a Toledo-area synagogue in the name of ISIS, and hoped that it would cause fear and result in a maximum number of casualties,” Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers said in a statement. He also reportedly communicated with an undercover agent regarding the October mass shooting at a Jewish synagogue in Pittsburgh.
“I admire what the guy did with the shooting actually,” Joseph reportedly told the agent. “I can see myself carrying out this type of operation inshallah.”
Cover: The men of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. lead a crowd of people in prayer outside the Emanuel AME Church, after a memorial for the nine people killed by Dylann Roof in Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, File)