Elizabeth Lecron revered mass shooters and even wrote letters to one of them — Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof — while she bought explosive materials to commit a terrorist attack of her own, authorities say.
The 23-year-old purchased explosive black powder and hundreds of screws with the purpose of building a pipe bomb and carrying out an “upscale mass murder” at a Toledo bar, the U.S. attorney’s office in the Northern District of Ohio said Monday.
“I’m very excited,” she told an undercover FBI agent at one point.
Lecron was arrested on Monday and charged with transporting explosives and explosive material for the purposes of harming people and property.
Authorities say they began keeping tabs on Lecron after an associate of hers “expressed a desire to conduct a violent act.”
Her social media activity painted a picture of an ardent follower of notorious mass murderers such as the Columbine school shooters and white supremacist church shooter Roof.
After her Tumblr account was shut down because of the offensive content, Lecron set up a new one under the name “CharlestonChurchMiracle” and continued to post materials about mass shootings and their perpetrators.
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The content included photos and GIFs of Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz, Santa Fe High School shooter Dimitrios Pagourtzis, 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooter Adam Lanza and 1970s serial killer Ted Bundy.
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The new Tumblr page remains online.
So obsessed with mass shootings was Lecron that she even flew to Denver to visit Columbine High School where, in April 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 13 people and wounded 24 before taking their own lives.
Around the same time, she began corresponding with Roof, imprisoned for killing nine people at an African American church in Charleston, N.C. in June 2015. Authorities say she attempted to send Nazi literature to Roof.
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While Roof’s murderous rampage was motivated by white supremacist beliefs and a desire to start a race war, Lecron’s motivations are less clear.
Authorities didn’t reveal why Lecron wanted to attack a bar, although they say she told undercover agents that she knew that the bar had only two exits, which gave her plot a tactical advantage over responding officers.
She also said in recent months that she wanted to attack a livestock farm and set animals free, bomb a pipeline and attack her workplace because she believed they were polluting a nearby river.
“This case demonstrates terrorism comes in many guises,” said Justin E. Herdman, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.
“Removing Elizabeth Lecron from the ranks of civilized society by virtue of arrest and prosecution thwarts her explicitly stated desire to engage in acts of death and destruction,” added FBI agent Jeff Fortunato.
Lecron faces 10 years in prison if convicted.
Her arrest was made the same day as that of another Toledo resident, 21-year-old Damon Joseph, who authorities said planned to shoot up a synagogue.
Joseph, who told an undercover agent that he admired Pittsburgh synagogue shooting suspect Robert Bowers, was detained after he received a pair of AR-15 rifles from an agent.
He previously spent months posting photos of weapons and praising the Islamic State group, authorities said.