Maryland teen accused of threatening school shooting after ‘memoir’ raises alarms

Montgomery Cty Maryland Police Department

(NEW YORK) — A Maryland teenager has been arrested on a charge of threatening mass violence after investigators say they uncovered evidence that he made plans to carry out a shooting at a Montgomery County school.

Eighteen-year-old Alex Ye, of Rockville, whose legal name is Andrea Ye, was arrested on Wednesday after law enforcement was alerted to a 129-page “memoir” he allegedly authored that included descriptions of shooting up both a high school and elementary school, court records show.

While Ye had previously described the writings as a piece of fiction — and it featured a disclaimer as such, including that it doesn’t “represent the author’s beliefs” — a witness with whom Ye shared the writings contacted authorities in early March because the witness said the writings bore “striking similarities” to Ye, according to the court documents.

The witness also believed the writings indicated Ye was prepared to carry out a mass shooting imminently, the court documents state, and Ye later described the writings as “his memoir” when speaking with law enforcement.

Authorities determined, based on their investigation, that the writings appear to contain “portions of fictional and non-fictional qualities,” according to the court records.

Court documents state that the witness told police that Ye’s “memoir” was about “a transgender main character” named “James Wang” who was “being bullied in school and other issues that [the witness] believed were directly from Ye’s life and not indicative of fiction.”

Police said in court records that Ye’s sex is female but he uses male pronouns.

The writings included detailed descriptions of how the character would carry out a shooting, saying he would “cherry pick the classrooms that are the easiest targets.”

The character allegedly states in Ye’s writings, “I have also considered shooting up my former elementary school because little kids make easier targets.”

Law enforcement said they found concerning social media posts and internet searches by Ye, reviewed as part of the investigation, including him allegedly querying “gun range near me,” descriptions of an AR-15 and the phrase “But, I do recognize that my plan is fully unethical. It’s selfish and evil.”

Chat records obtained by police show Ye discussing thoughts of shooting up his school with another online user in September. In December, Ye allegedly wrote to another user, “My homicidal ideation has been getting worse lately to the point I might act on it eventually,” adding in another message that month, “I’d want to kill a lot of people or it wouldn’t be worth it.”

There’s no allegation in the documents that Ye had possession of any firearms leading up to the time of his arrest.

Ye has not yet entered a plea and is being held at the Montgomery County Central Processing Unit where he is awaiting a bond hearing.

An attorney for him could not immediately be reached for comment.

Montgomery County Public Schools said that while Ye is an active student at Wootton High School in Rockville, he has been attending classes through a virtual program and hasn’t “physically attended” school since late 2022.

Ye has a lengthy recent history of receiving inpatient care for apparent mental health issues including openly expressed thoughts of homicidal and suicidal ideation and what he described as a history of suffering abuse, the court records state. The witness who first alerted law enforcement to what police also called Ye’s “manifesto” knew him from when they were both in inpatient treatment at a psychiatric care facility.

According to the court documents, Ye was previously hospitalized “for threatening to ‘shoot up a school'” as well as other issues.

Ye was evaluated at his home and then hospitalized again in March, shortly after the police investigation began, as part of an emergency evaluation petition, the court records show. The hospital then raised an alarm with school and law enforcement officials because of “the threat posed by Ye.”

A counselor who had worked with Ye told authorities that he “would express violent thoughts such as shooting up the school” and “would smile while saying it,” according to court documents.

The counselor also said Ye was “patient and okay with his plan being the ‘long game’ and wanted to be famous from this event.”

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