Three mass shooting plots were thwarted in recent days in the United States with the arrests of three men in unrelated cases, authorities in Connecticut, Florida and Ohio said, according to a report by USA Today.
Tips from the public aided in the three arrests, which occurred from Thursday and Friday. Police in each case said the men, all white and in their 20s, posted online or sent text messages with threats of committing mass shootings.
The arrests come amid renewed cries for legislation to change the country’s gun laws in the wake of mass shootings in California, Texas and Ohio. Multiple false alarm and hoax shooting scares have also kept the nation on edge in recent weeks.
In Connecticut, Brandon Wagshol, 22, of Norwalk was arrested on four counts of illegal possession of large-capacity magazines, the city’s police department said Thursday.
Wagshol was arrested after a joint investigation from Norwalk police and the FBI was opened after federal authorities received a tip that he was allegedly trying to buy high capacity rifle magazines out-of-state.
Police said Wagshol purchased rifle parts online to build his own weapon and had posted on Facebook showing “his interest in committing a mass shooting.”
When executing a search warrant, police found two guns registered to Wagshol’s father, multiple rounds of ammunition, body armour and other tactical equipment, Norwalk police said.
The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said Tristan Scott Wix, 25, of Daytona Beach was arrested Friday and charged with making threats to commit a mass shooting.
Sheriff’s deputies began investigating after they were alerted to multiple texts Wix allegedly sent with his plans to commit a mass shooting. The office did not say to whom Wix sent the messages.
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“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,” the sheriff’s department said Wix texted.
Another text allegedly read: “But a good 100 kills would be nice. I already have a location (laughing cry face emoji) is that bad?”
Wix said he doesn’t own firearms but was “fascinated with mass shootings,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement.
Police also released body cam video of Wix’s arrest.
Police arrested James P. Reardon, 20, after receiving a tip about an online video where the man identified himself as the shooter at a Jewish community centre — an incident that hadn’t happened yet, according to the FBI.
Reardon was arrested Friday on charges of telecommunications harassment and aggravated menacing, FBI Cleveland Division said.
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The video post on Instagram tagged the Jewish Community Center of Youngstown from Reardon’s account, police say.
A search warrant was executed at Reardon’s parent’s home the same day local police received the tip about the video. Reardon was arrested without incident and police said rounds of ammunition, semi-automatic weapons and anti-Semitic information were found