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Monday, February 6, 2023

Ohio Couple Face Life in Prison on Charges of Planning Mass-Casualty Attack

An Ohio couple reportedly obsessed with mass shootings were indicted in federal court today after allegedly telling undercover FBI agents and confidential sources that they were planning to commit an “upscale mass murder” at a bar in Toledo.

Elizabeth Lecron, 23, and Vincent Armstrong, 23, face up to life in prison for multiple charges including conspiracy to transport or receive an explosive with intent to kill, injure or intimidate any individual, and maliciously damage or destroy by fire or explosive; conspiracy to use a destructive device during and in relation to a crime of violence; conspiracy to use firearms during and in relation to a crime of violence; and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.

“According to the allegations in the indictment, this pair obtained firearms and components to make explosives as part of a plot to kill and maim others,” said Justin E. Herdman, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio. “Law enforcement worked together to thwart this alleged plot, and we will remain vigilant to protect the public from all threats.”

MORE: No Domestic Terror Charge? Lack of Law Reflects ‘Considerable Ambiguity,’ Says DOJ Official

The FBI began probing the couple after Armstrong wrote on social media that he wanted to carry out an attack. Lecron, who allegedly started a new profile on Tumblr named “CharlestonChurchMiracle” after her previous profile had been shut down due to offensive content, also praised a number of mass murders on her social media, including the Columbine High School killers and Dylann Roof, who in 2015 killed nine people at a church in Charleston, S.C.

FBI Sting Operation

In September, Lecron allegedly told undercover FBI agents that she was building a pipe bomb. In December, she then met an undercover source at a sporting goods store and bought two pounds of Hodgson Triple Seven Muzzleloading Propellant, officials said; she later bought 665 screws of various sizes.

A Dec. 10 search of their home later that month allegedly yielded an AK-47, a shotgun, multiple handguns, ammunition and end caps, which can be used to make pipe bombs. Investigators said they also found journals belonging to the couple, in which Armstrong wrote June 8, “Now I have these thoughts…These memories. They haunt me. I have a vision. A vision to kill. To hunt the unwilling…” In Armstrong’s trunk, investigators reportedly found a tactical vest with two loaded magazines for an AK-47, two loaded magazines for a pistol, a gas mask and printouts of instructions on how to build bombs.

“These arrests should send a sobering message to everyone that there is no city, large or small, that is immune to these types of hate-filled attacks,” Toledo Police Chief George Kral said. “I am incredibly proud of the response by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Toledo Police Department and members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force. This is yet another example of a well-coordinated, local/federal law enforcement partnership. Toledo is a safer city because of the dedication of these hard-working law enforcement professionals.”

James Cullum
Multimedia journalist James Cullum has reported for over a decade to newspapers, magazines and websites in the D.C. metro area. He excels at finding order in chaotic environments, from slave liberations in South Sudan to the halls of the power in Washington, D.C.

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