Teenager arrested for plotting mass shooting after manifesto revealed chilling plans to attack elementary school

Police alerted by a friend who had been given access to Google Doc on planned shooting

Michelle Del Rey
Friday 19 April 2024 22:56 BST
Teen planned school shooting at Wooton High School in Rockville, police say

A Maryland student has been arrested after police say he threatened to shoot up his high school and former elementary school.

Alex Ye, 18, of Rockville, is alleged to have written a chilling 129-page manifesto detailing plans to gun down his classmates at Thomas S Wootton High School, and his former elementary school.

He was arrested on 17 April and charged with threat of mass violence, a misdemeanour crime punishable by up to 10 years in jail.

He is being held without bond, and a trial date is set for 3 June. The Independent emailed and called an attorney for Mr Ye seeking comment.

Authorities say they were first alerted to Mr Ye’s plan by a friend who had been given access to the man’s Google Doc manifesto. Officers arrived at the student’s home on 3 March to conduct a welfare check but were denied entry to the residence by his father.

Alex Ye, a high school student, has been charged after police discovered his plans to commit a school shooting. (Montgomery County Police Department)

The friend told investigators that the student had made several remarks about committing an act of violence.

During a probe of the student’s search history, officials discovered he’d looked up “gun ranges near me”, “minimum age to enter a gun range”, “what counts as a terroristic threat”, obtained written and verbal descriptions of AR-15s and looked for a book about a student that plans to shoot his best friend and then himself.

Speaking at a news conference on Friday, Montgomery County Police Department Chief Marcus Jones said that the suspect had written about wanting to shoot up his former elementary school because “little kids make easier targets”.

He also strategised about how to enter the easiest classrooms in his high school and how he would be able to sneak a gun into the school.

Mr Ye also said he wanted to become a serial killer instead of a mass murderer because “serial killers are romanticised a lot more”, the chief said.

Officers returned to the student’s home three days after the first visit in March to perform a crisis evaluation. The suspect was involuntarily hospitalised as a result.

Medical staff at the hospital contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation and police department concerned about the threat posed by the teenager, noting that he routinely conducted searches about mass shootings on Discord, an instant messaging app.

The app has been used by mass shooters in the past. He also used it to talk about the Columbine High School Massacre and similar shootings and drawings depicting shootings were found on his iPhone, the chief noted.

As police investigated the matter, investigators with the Federal Bureau of Investigation spoke to a psychologist at the student’s high school who said he was fixated on “and made statements every time they spoke” about carrying out a mass shooting.

Mr Ye also told the psychologist he was capable of committing a violent act after he graduated because he lived close to the school. Authorities later increased security at the institution.

“He was preoccupied with self-harm, school shootings and explosions”, Chief Jones said.

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich, who also spoke at the news conference, pointed to Maryland’s strict gun laws in potentially stopping a tragedy.

Everytown for Gun Safety currently ranks the state eighth in the nation for gun law strength.

“This could well be a case where the difficulty to get guns prevented him from getting a gun when he wanted it”, Mr Elrich said.

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