Police Stopped What Could Have Been 3 Mass Shootings In A Single Weekend Across The Country

  • Police arrested three men in their 20s after receiving tips that revealed their interests in carrying out mass shootings.
  • The men were from Connecticut, Florida and Ohio, respectively.
  • Two of the shooters had access to a large number of weapons and ammunition in their homes.

Police stopped three potential mass shootings that could have taken place over the weekend in Florida, Connecticut and Ohio with help from the public.

Authorities arrested three men in their 20s who sent threatening social media posts or text messages alluding to the desire to carry out mass shootings late last week.

Connecticut

The first arrest took place on Aug. 14 in Connecticut when 22-year-old Brandon Wagshol was arrested on four counts of illegal possession of large-capacity magazines, the Norwalk Police Department said in a statement posted to Facebook.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation National Threat Operations Center received a tip saying Wagshol wanted to purchase large-capacity rifle magazines from out of state.

Authorities later discovered during the FBI investigation that Wagshol was buying rifle parts online in an attempt to build a homemade rifle, and Special Services Officers detained him outside his home on Aug. 14.

Officers seized a .40 caliber handgun and .22 caliber rifle — both of which were registered in his father’s name.

They also seized body armor with a rifle scope with a laser, firearm flashlight, titanium plate, camouflage shirt, pant and belt, ballistic helmet, tactical gloves, camouflage bag and computers, as well as numerous .40 caliber, .22 caliber and .300 Blackout rounds of ammunition.

“Today’s arrest demonstrates the FBI’s commitment to working closely with our local law enforcement partners to mitigate this type of threat to our area,” FBI special agent in Charge Brian Turner told reporters. “With our local partners we gather, share and act upon threat information as it comes to our attention.”

Florida

Police arrested Tristan Scott Wix, 25, on Friday in Daytona Beach on a charge of making written threats to kill. (RELATED: Seven Killed, 53 Injured In Chicago Shootings Over The Weekend)

Wix was detained outside a Winn Dixie grocery store after police were alerted of text messages he had sent saying he wanted to “break a world record for longest confirmed kill,” according to WKMG-TV.

The suspect sent several text messages saying he wanted to kill 100 people in a mass shooting and had decided on a location, the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office reported.

Deputies said the 25-year-old said he is fascinated by mass shootings but does not own any guns at home.

Texts from Wix obtained by police revealed that he was interested in shooting up a “large crowd of people from over [three] miles away” and would “need a spotter.”

He also said he did not “intend on walking away alive.”

“A good 100 kills would be nice. I already have a location,” he said in the texts, adding, “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. 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.”

Ohio

Police arrested James P. Reardon, 20, on Friday in New Middletown on charges of telecommunications harassment and aggravated menacing, FBI Cleveland Division reported, according to USA Today.

Officials began their investigation into Reardon after receiving a tip on July 11 when he posted an Instagram video of a man shooting a semi-automatic weapon with sirens and screams in the background. He tagged the Jewish Community Center of Youngstown in the post, according to ABC News.

“Police identified the Youngstown Jewish Family Community shooter as local white nationalist Seamus O’Rearedon,” the caption read.

“According to charges filed, New Middletown Police Department was informed on Friday, August 16, 2019, of an online video posted by James Reardon depicting himself being identified as the shooter at an area Jewish Community Center, the shooting had not actually taken place,” the FBI said.

The Cleveland office for the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish activist group, thanked the FBI and local law enforcement in a Saturday tweet, saying, “Grateful for the work of the FBI, local law enforcement and our community partners. … We will continue to employ all our resources to stop the spread of white nationalism and violent extremism.”

Police said they found rounds of ammunition, semi-automatic weapons and anti-Semitic information in Reardon’s residence, and the FBI’s investigation is ongoing, according to USA Today.

“That kicked off an intense investigation, a very rapidly evolving investigation, because of the way the world is,” New Middletown Police Chief Vince D’Egidio told Youngstown ABC affiliate WYTV.

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- Originally posted on the BBC worldwide website

Daniel Rolph

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