By Cole Behrens
Athens NEWS Associate Editor
Ohio University has “no known connection” to what federal investigators said was a plot by an “incel” to attack an unnamed Ohio university, an OU spokesperson said on Friday.
On July 21, federal agents arrested Tres Genco, 21, of Hillsboro, Ohio, for allegedly plotted to commit a hate crime — namely, a plan to shoot students in sororities at a university in Ohio. He also was charged with illegal possession of a machine gun, according to a U.S. Department of Justice statement.
When the news of the arrest broke, some national news outlets, including The Daily Beast, reported that Ohio University was the target of Genco’s alleged plot (The Cincinnati Enquirer reported the target was Ohio State University).
According to Genco’s Facebook profile, he made multiple posts in February and March 2020 indicating he was enrolled in Ohio University, including updating his education status and changing his cover photo to an image of the College Green. His Twitter bio also says “Ohio university.”
“Regarding this situation, there is no known connection to Ohio University at this time,” OU spokesperson Carly Leatherwood said in a statement. Leatherwood said Genco is not and never was enrolled as a student.
In a statement to The Athens NEWS, OUPD acknowledged they were aware of Genco’s social media posts where he appeared to claim to be a student.
“Despite his social media posts, there was no indication that Genco planned to target Ohio University,” the statement said. “Based on what is known at this time,we do not believe there is any additional risk to our campuses as a result of this case. OUPD will continue to monitor this case as it develops and take appropriate action within our community if our threat assessment changes.”
Incel, or “involuntary celibate,” is an online movement and community of predominantly men who harbor anger toward and seek to commit violence against women because they believe women unjustly deny them sexual or romantic attention they believe they are entitled to.
According to the indictment, Genco maintained profiles on a popular incel website from at least July 2019 through mid-March 2020. Genco frequently posted on the site.
In one post, Genco allegedly detailed spraying “some foids and couples” with orange juice in a water gun, documents say. “Foids” is an incel term short for “femoids,” referring to women. According to the indictment, Genco compared his “extremely empowering action” to that of Elliot Rodger who, in May 2014, killed six people and injured 14 others in and around a University of California, Santa Barbara sorority house. Before the shootings, Rodger shot a group of college students with orange juice from a water gun.
Genco also allegedly wrote a manifesto, stating he would “slaughter” women “out of hatred, jealousy and revenge…” and referring to death as the “great equalizer,” the Department of Justice release said.
As part of its investigation, law enforcement discovered a note Genco wrote indicating he hoped to “aim big” with a kill count of 3,000 and intended to attend military training.
Searches of Genco’s electronics revealed that the day he wrote his manifesto, he searched online for sororities and a university in Ohio.
In 2019, Genco allergedly purchased tactical gloves, a bulletproof vest, a hoodie bearing the word “revenge,” cargo pants, a bowie knife, a skull facemask, two Glock 17 magazines, a 9 mm Glock 17 clip and a concealed carry holster clip for a Glock.
According to investigators, Genco attended Army Basic Training at Ft. Benning, Ga., from August through December 2019. In January 2020, Genco allegedly wrote a document entitled “Isolated” that he described as “the writings of the deluded and homicidal.” Genco allegedly signed the document, “Your hopeful friend and murderer,” according to indictment documents.
The charging document claims Genco conducted surveillance at an unnamed Ohio university on Jan. 15, 2020. That same day, he allegedly searched online for topics including “how to plan a shooting crime” and “when does preparing for a crime become attempt?”
On March 12, 2020, local police officers responded to a call at about Genco in Highland County. An unnamed caller said Genco had locked himself in his bedroom at his home and threatened the caller, the affidavit alleges. The caller said they heard Genco cock a gun from behind his bedroom door, according to court records.
When police arrived at the home, the affidavit said, the unnamed caller told officers Genco had become erratic and somewhat violent over the previous several months. They added that they had come across Genco’s violent writings in his room, according to an affidavit.
In the trunk of Genco’s vehicle police officers found, among other things, a firearm with a bump stock attached, several loaded magazines, body armor and boxes of ammunition, prosecutors say.
Inside the residence, police officers found a Glock-style 9 mm semiautomatic pistol, with no manufacturer’s marks or serial number, hidden in a heating vent in Genco’s bedroom.
Genco is charged with one count of attempting to commit a hate crime (which is punishable by up to life in prison because it involved an attempt to kill) and one count of illegally possessing a machine gun, which is punishable by up to 10 years, the DoJ release said.
Vipal J. Patel, acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; Chris Hoffman, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Cincinnati Division; and Roland Herndon, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), announced the charges on Wednesday.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Megan Gaffney Painter and Assistant Deputy Criminal Chief Timothy S. Mangan are representing the United States in this case.