A woman who sent a Nazi memoir to racist mass murderer Dylann Roof allegedly planned to commit “an upscale mass murder” and purchased bomb-making materials for a separate attack, authorities said Monday.
Elizabeth Lecron, 23, is accused of planning a terror attack at a Toledo, Ohio bar, according to an unsealed criminal complaint. Federal prosecutors allege Lecron idolized mass-murderers like Roof, who murdered nine black worshipers at a church in Charleston, South Carolina in 2015.
Investigators became aware of Lecron after a tip from an associate of Lecron’s boyfriend, according to the complaint. A raid on her apartment allegedly revealed pipe bomb materials, as well as an AK-47 rifle and other guns. FBI agents also found her journal, in which she allegedly detailed her plans to kill.
Lecron allegedly planned an attack on a specific Toledo bar, even planning for its entrances and exits. She had previously indicated an interest in other attacks, including freeing farm animals and “targeting a pipeline in an undisclosed location in Georgia,” but had not carried them out, officials alleged. They alleged that she wished to meet anarchists to help carry out the attacks, and that she spoke to undercover FBI agents about her plans in September.
Lecron allegedly told the undercover agents about her plans and said that innocent bystanders she might hurt were “probably part of the problem.” She also allegedly suggested an attack on her workplace, which she described as polluting a river. She appears to have discussed a pipeline attack with the undercover agents.
In late November, she appeared to predict trouble. “Honey, you got a big storm coming,” she wrote on Tumblr.
“Ultimately Lecron decided to acquire components for a pipe bomb which she believed would be placed on a pipeline,” an official said during the press conference. She was arrested after she allegedly bought the bomb materials on Saturday.
On social media, Lecron was a highly active member of the “true crime” community, made up of mostly young people who idolize similarly young mass murderers. She used the platform to post pictures of mass murders. Lecron’s username referred to Roof's massacre as the “CharlestonChurchMiracle,” according to the complaint, and she posted a doctored photo of Pope Francis honoring Roof.
Roof is currently incarcerated in a federal prison in Indiana where he is on death row awaiting execution after he was sentenced to death last year.
Lecron is one of only four people Roof is known to have corresponded with behind bars. In July, she introduced herself to Roof and asked him for reading suggestions. Roof replied and asked her for books on Nazis, the complaint states, and she sent him a memoir of a Belgian who fought for the Nazis. “Stay strong, Storm,” she concluded her letter. “You have a lot of people that care for you beyond those walls.”
Authorities says she also worshiped the perpetrators of the 1999 Columbine High School massacre who killed 13 people in Colorado. Not only did she post imagery of the school-shooters, authorities say, Lecron visited a memorial at the school with a man who lived and dated her.
The person who tipped off authorities to Lecron told law enforcement a man only identified as “Subject-1” started changing behavior once he started dating and living with Lecron. The man started wearing exclusively black shirts, going to a shooting range, and started talking about “anarchistic ideas,” according to the complainant.
While she shared neo-Nazi and neo-Confederate imagery on Tumblr, her political affiliations outside Tumblr are unclear. In 2016, she was a registered Democrat, records show, and until early 2017 she shared tweets from Bernie Sanders on her Twitter account. The account has been inactive for nearly two years. Her private Instagram account has red Xs on either side of her username, a symbol some right-wing internet users have recently adopted. It is unclear how recently that account was active.
Officials also on Monday announced the separate arrest of an Ohio man who allegedly planned attacks on synagogues, inspired by man who murdered 11 worshippers at a Pittsburgh synagogue in October.
Editor’s Note, 12/11/18: This story has been updated throughout.