Maryland teen accused of plotting school shooting

ROCKVILLE, Md. — Police in Maryland have arrested a high school student accused of planning to commit a mass shooting at his high school in 129-page manifesto.

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On Wednesday, the Montgomery County Police Department arrested Alex Ye, 18, more than a month after it started investigating threats that he reportedly made about opening fire at his school, Rockville’s Thomas S. Wootton High School, and the elementary school he attended, Chief Marcus Jones said.

In a manifesto he shared with at least one other person, Ye “strategized on how to access the easiest classrooms in his high school and how he would be able to sneak a gun into the school,” Jones said.

“Ye also wrote that he wanted to become a serial killer instead of a mass murderer because serial killers are romanticized a lot more,” the chief added.

Ye claimed that the writing was fictional, but one of his acquaintances said the main character of the work, James Wang, bore “striking similarities” to Ye, The Washington Post reported.

“The story focused on a transgender main character being bullied in school and other issues that [the acquaintance] believed were directly from Ye’s life and not indicative of fiction,” investigators wrote in an affidavit obtained by the Post.

Ye, who was born female, identifies as male, WJLA reported.

In court records obtained by the Post, authorities said Ye wrote, “As I walk through the hallways, I cherry pick the classrooms that are the easiest targets.”

Later, he added, “I have also considered shooting up my former elementary school because little kids make easier targets,” authorities said. Police added that he said he wanted to be famous.

Ye was enrolled in Wootton High School, though school district officials said he had not been on campus since the fall of 2022. Instead, he was taking online classes and getting in touch with staff remotely when needed.

“Even after being removed from the school, Ye said that he could do something at graduation because he lived close to the school,” Jones said.

Authorities began investigating in early March after someone went reported Ye’s manifesto. He had been hospitalized multiple times since 2022 for homicidal and suicidal thoughts and for threatening to “shoot up a school,” WTOP reported. Authorities said his father kept a gun in the family’s home, but Ye did not have access to it or any way to gain access.

On Friday, Jones said Ye was “preoccupied with self-harm, school shootings and explosives.” Montgomery County Executive Marc Elirch said Ye “struggled with significant mental health challenges, including homicidal and suicidal ideation over an extended period of time.” He added that he hopes the investigation will delve into when Ye first started experiencing struggles and when authorities intervened.

“It’s kind of a statement on the state of mental health within this country,” he said. “There just are not adequate facilities or practitioners to deal with the mental health issues that exist in our community.”

Ye faces one count of threats of mass violence. Under Maryland law, a person can face the charge if they “knowingly threaten to commit or threaten to cause to be committed a crime of violence … that would place five or more people at substantial risk of death or serious physical injury.”

It carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, upon conviction.

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