Police arrested three young, white men over the past several days — each from a different state — after they allegedly expressed interest in mass shootings.
All three men already owned weapons that had been flagged to police by members of the public, according to media reports.
Their arrests come amid a wave of apprehensions of would-be copycat killers after the mass shootings in Gilroy, California; El Paso, Texas; and Dayton, Ohio.
Here’s what we know about the three men arrested over the past week, and what they were planning:
The Ohio man who threatened a Jewish community center
James Patrick Reardon was arrested Saturday on charges of harassment and aggravated menacing after posting a video of him firing a gun while appearing to threaten the Jewish Community Center of Youngstown, Ohio.
The 20-year-old is being held on a $250,000 bond, according to the New York Times. He was arrested by police in New Middletown, Ohio, after a home search warrant unearthed his anti-Semitic propaganda, bulletproof armor, and multiple semi-automatic weapons. It was also discovered that Reardon had attended the violent and deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017.
The video that sparked the search warrant, however, was posted to Reardon’s Instagram account more than a month ago. It was captioned “Police identified the Youngstown Jewish Family Community shooter as local white nationalist Seamus O’Reardon.” It’s not clear why Reardon went with that name, but it may have been alluding to his online pseudonym of “I-R-A Seamus,” referring to Ireland’s dissident Republican group.
The Instagram caption is what sparked a fast-moving police investigation and search warrant, according to NBC News.
Youngstown’s Jewish community wasn’t made aware of any threat until Friday, according to the Times. All synagogues in the area have since received increased security, according to NBC News.
The Connecticut man who was “into planning a mass murder”
Acting on a tip to the Federal Bureau of Investigations, police arrested Brandon Wagshol, a 22-year-old from Norwalk, Connecticut, on Wednesday. He faces four charges of possessing large-capacity magazines after a search warrant uncovered a .40-caliber handgun, a .22-caliber rifle, body armor, and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, according to the Hartford Courant.
Authorities had received a tip that Wagshol wanted to buy large-capacity magazines across state lines, and he admitted driving three hours to New Hampshire to secure 30-round magazines. However, he denied having any interest in committing a mass shooting, and said some of the weapons were his father’s.
But Norwalk police Lt. Terry Blake told the Courant that Wagshol wrote on Facebook he was “into planning a mass murder.” In part, that’s why his bond was set at $250,000. His lawyer told the Courant that the Facebook post, which hasn’t been fully revealed by police, was a meme.
“What I understand is that he didn’t make any comments on Facebook, but there might have been other memes, as they call it, that he might have re-posted, but he didn’t make a statement on Facebook as related to any mass shooting,” said local attorney Darnell Crosland.
“I'd wanna break a world record for longest confirmed kill ever”
Tristan Scott Wix, a 25-year-old from Daytona Beach, was arrested and charged with making threats to commit a mass shooting Friday after he sent a string of alarming text messages to his ex-girlfriend saying he’d want to break a “world record for longest confirmed kill ever” by shooting into a “large crowd,” according to WESH, an NBC affiliate in Orlando.
Wix was arrested by the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office in a Winn-Dixie parking lot and is currently being held without bond. His ex-girlfriend shared the text messages with police.
"I wanna open fire on a large crowd of people from over 3 miles away before I die and I need a spotter (laughing cry face emoji),” Wix wrote in one text message, according to WESH. "But a good 100 kills would be nice. I already have a location (laughing cry face emoji) is that bad?"
Volusia County Sheriff Michael Chitwood told CNN that Wix fit “the profile of a shooter.” Authorities uncovered 400 rounds of ammunition and a .22-caliber hunting rifle from his apartment, although Wix initially told police he didn’t own any firearms.
"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,” Chitwood said.
Cover: This undated photo provided by the Mahoning County Sheriff's Office shows James Reardon Jr. Police say Reardon, accused of making what they believe was a threat to a Jewish center in Ohio on Instagram, was arrested Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019, on telecommunications harassment and aggravated menacing charges. (Mahoning County Sheriff's Office via AP)