Prosecutors: ‘Incel’ arrested after planning mass shooting at Ohio college campus

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A Hillsboro man joined a misogynistic online hate group, acquired an AR-15-style rifle and conducted surveillance of an Ohio university campus.

Then he googled: “When does preparing for a crime become an attempt?” The answer arrived in the form of Highland County Sheriff’s deputies and federal prosecutors.

Tres Genco, 21, now faces federal charges of plotting to commit a hate crime and illegally possessing a machine gun, Acting U.S. Attorney Vipal J. Patel of the Southern District of Ohio announced Wednesday. Genco could spend the rest of his life in prison.

Federal court documents indicate Genco identified as an “involuntary celebate,” or “incel,” which is a man who blames a wide variety of unrelated personal failures and misfortunes on his inability to find female sexual partners.

Online incel communities have been repeatedly linked to instances of mass violence. Elliot Rodger, a 22-year-old driven by a desire to punish all women and sexually active men for his own past experiences of sexual rejection, killed six people and injured 14 others in 2014 near a California university campus.

Like many other incels, Genco expressed admiration for Rodger and an intent to duplicate his crime. According to Patel’s office, Genco was a frequent poster on a popular incel website and posted about imitating Rodger’s pre-attack behavior.

Federal court documents also accuse Genco of writing a manifesto detailing the plans for his own attack, which he hoped would claim 3,000 lives, and searching online for sororities and colleges that would make a desirable target.

Genco was arrested March 12, 2020, after a neighbor called police and accused him of making threats with a gun. He had become “erratic and somewhat violent” over the months leading up to the call, the neighbor said. Investigators later discovered this time period coincided with his posts on the incel website.

Highland County deputies arrested Genco and looked in the trunk of his car, where they discovered “an AR-15-style rifle with suspected ‘bump-stock’ attached; several loaded magazines; body armor; and boxes of ammunition,” according to the sealed indictment filed against him on April 16, 2020.

The initial charges filed against him were only for illegal possession of the weapons, which would have earned a maximum of 10 years in prison.

Further investigation revealed his extensive history of hate and plans for a campus shooting in Ohio, federal prosecutors wrote.

The hate crime charge extends his maximum possible sentence to life imprisonment.

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