A mom in Katy, Texas, was driving into a local car wash on July 10 when she heard a "boom" and felt a sudden pain in her arm. When she parked, she realized she'd been shot by a bullet that ended up lodged just inches from her heart. Now authorities say that the shooting was just one of many that 29-year-old Nicholas D'Agostino committed because of his "very dim view" of women, Buzzfeed News reports.
According to ABC 13, D'Agostino, who's admitted to being involved in five different road rage incidents and shot at six female drivers, was recently arrested twice for two similar shootings. He was apprehended last month on suspicion of the July shooting, then again on Thursday for allegedly shooting another female driver in the arm near the same car wash back in March. In both cases, authorities say D'Agostino said he shot at the women out of self-defense after they swerved into his lane.
"It was vehicular manslaughter," D'Agostino told ABC 13 of the July shooting. "It's almost happened to me before.
But cops argue that D'Agostino's alleged motive was tied to his view of women, and that he was "randomly" targeting female drivers. In court documents, Harris County Sheriff's Detective Dennis Palmer described social media posts in which the alleged shooter "rants and rambles on about female motorists and how incompetent they are and that their sole purpose is to give birth to male children." His Instagram page, which has since been removed, apparently showed a picture of the gun that is thought to have been used in the shootings—as well as a green SUV similar to the vehicle at least one victim noticed at the crime scene.
His attorney told BuzzFeed News that there's "absolutely no evidence" his client "hates women," but that he does suffer from mental health issues.
"There are a lot of misassumptions being made," Kenneth Mingledorff said. "His family and I are very, very sorry for the pain and suffering that anyone might have experienced here and we want to make sure he gets whatever treatment he needs," he added.
In the Facebook posts, which have since been taken down, some of D'Agostino's rants seem so nonsensical that it's not clear whether or not he was obviously targeting women. For example, one post that Katy Magazine published before the profile was taken down read, "No, school shooters from scotland don't get to menstruate at guns. No, Brilliant German Women are not strong." The published posts certainly don't echo the same kind of misogynistic rhetoric that consumed self-described involuntarily celibates, or incels, like the 2014 Isla Vista shooter or the man behind the Toronto van attack.
Still, they serve as another example of how a person's bizarre social media activity can portend criminality. For instance, the alleged Holy Fire arsonist clearly displayed signs of mental illness on Facebook, where he often posted about conspiracy theories, including ones that had to do with fire.
For his part, D'Agostino's lawyer tried to argue that social media posts can't be used as evidence in court, which is not true. As New York State Supreme Court judge Judge Michael Corriero explained to Business Insider last year, social media posts are part of the public domain and can be shown to a jury as long as they're traceable to a defendant.
Motive aside, D'Agostino has been charged with two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and is being held on $250,000 bond.