Inside the Sick Mind of an Almost-School Shooter, Transgender High School Teen Who “Just Wanted to Be Famous”

BREAKING: MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MARYLAND— Earlier this month, county authorities in Rockville, MD charged an 18-year-old trans-identifying high school student with “threat of mass violence,” thwarting her plans to commit a school shooting or bombing at her former elementary or current high school. 

As revealed by her Google searches, Andrea Ye, who goes by “Alex” and identifies as a male, idolizes Audrey Hale, a trans, male-identifying shooter who killed three 9-year-old students and three adults in Nashville, Tennessee, along with other shooters.

A look inside of her 129-page manifesto may shed light into the sick psyche of the “Trenchcoat Mafia,” or those who glorify and romanticize school shootings and conspire to join the ranks of the nation’s wickedest. 

“Little kids make easier targets.”

The FBI Baltimore field office received a tip about Ye’s manifesto from a concerned friend with whom she’d shared the document. The team cued the Montgomery County Police Department in, and following a joint investigation, the police department arrested the teenager. 

Though she tried to pass the document off as a work of fiction with an opening disclaimer statement, the manifesto mirrored Ye’s own life, experiences, actions and mental health background. The friend— dubbed “Witness One” in the arrest warrant— also noted that the protagonist and Ye bore a “striking resemblance.”

The manifesto detailed her plans to carry out a mass school shooting at her current high school, Wootton High School, or her former elementary school, Lakewood Elementary School. She stated that she would “cherry pick the classrooms that are the easiest targets” and that “little kids make easier targets.”

“I have also considered shooting up my former elementary school because little kids make easier targets. And I run the risk of getting attacked or tackled midway through with high schoolers,” Ye wrote.

“I also hated elementary school. The teachers were evil, and the other students were little a**holes. I always got in trouble and had to sit out during recess. The other kids would pretend to be my friends but make fun of me to my face. It would be the perfect revenge.” 

Ye is being held in police custody at the Montgomery County Central Processing Unit. Her arrest warrant contains mortifying, explicit excerpts from her document, internet search history and online chat forums. 

Her self-described goals were to “set the world record for the most amount of kills in a shooting,” have “more people simp for [her]” and to achieve fame, or even infamy, she said. 

Last month, Ye shared the document with Witness One via an Instagram message, saying that she had finished writing her “book” and wanted to share it with Witness One. The witness, who knew Ye because “the two were in inpatient treatment at a known psychiatric facility in Maryland,” was midway through reading the manifesto when he contacted local law enforcement.

“Witness-One began reviewing the ‘18 chapter’ manifesto and noted striking similarities between the main character (James Wang) and Ye. The story focused on a transgender main character being bullied in school and other issues that Witness-One believed were directly from Ye’s life and not indicative of fiction,” the arrest warrant said.

“Witness-One stated the book indicated that the shooting was to take place ‘the next day’ saying ‘I will be doing it tomorrow.’”

Before even finishing the document, the witness then contacted the Baltimore County Police Department, which contacted the Rockville Police Department. 

The Rockville Police Department quickly arrived at Ye’s home for a welfare check, but Ye’s family denied the police entry and refused to show them the manifesto or anything else without a warrant, the police department described.

“As noted by Rockville Police, Xuan Ye (father of Ye) stated he was not concerned with Ye’s current mental status because when Ye is going through a mental crisis, he can see a visible change with Ye. Xuan Ye stated if Ye was having any thoughts of harming anyone, he feels confident that Ye would confide in his therapist.”

Ye’s father admitted that he was aware that Ye had dedicated several months toward “writing a novel” and was “very adamant that this novel was a fictional novel.” However, the father had not read any part of the novel.

Ye swiftly revoked the witness’s access to the Google Drive document, so the witness never learned the entirety of the document’s details.

“Sergeant Saffar of the MCPD BAAU/Threat Assessment Team was notified of the event on 03/04/2024. Sergeant Saffar immediately recognized Alex Ye from prior threat assessment investigations.” 

The report described Ye’s previous hospitalization in December 2022 for homicidal and suicidal ideations and for threatening to “shoot up a school.” After a month, Ye was released from the hospital, but “was still preoccupied with self-harming, school shootings and explosives.”

Shortly after, Ye was hospitalized again for several months at the insistence of the Montgomery County Crisis Center, which contacted Rockville City Police to assist clinicians with the service of an Emergency Evaluation Petition (EEP) of Ye.

Ye’s homicidal and suicidal ideations seemed unshakable. The EEP revealed that Ye wanted to “shoot up” her school and that she had discussed suicide by cop. Evidently, the Crisis Center caught wind of Ye after a Wootton High School therapist disclosed that Ye had “obtained a BB gun for purpose of suicide by cop,” the arrest warrant revealed.

“As reported to MCPD and FBI investigators, from approximately [Feb. 20, 2023, to July 20, 2023,] Ye was hospitalized at Johns Hopkins Pediatric Unit for the homicidal ideations,” the arrest warrant said. “Ye also claimed to be Jesus Christ and was going to crucify himself. When Ye was discharged, he was sent to a residential facility.”

The manifesto.

“Witness-One confirmed the document contained information that appeared to be directly about Ye’s life including being about an Asian male main character, who is transgender, has problems in his home life, and wishes to complete a school shooting,” the arrest warrant said.

The witness, who had been in a treatment facility with Ye, said that he and others in group treatment believed Ye was “consistently lying during treatment” and that “despite saying he no longer had homicidal/suicidal thoughts, had alluded to other patients in private that he did.”

After the police department obtained a warrant, they were able to check Ye’s internet user history for three days: March 1 – March 4, 2024. 

The police note that “based on the timestamp, [the following items] appear to have been searched for after RCPD responded to the residence and spoke with Ye.” 

The manifesto tells the story of Asian transgender protagonist James Wang who plans a school shooting, but before it is carried out, is taken into custody by law enforcement and goes to psychiatric treatment. This event mirrors Ye’s experiences in 2023.

The following section contains shocking and wicked excerpts from the manifesto.

Pg 1: I want to shoot up my school. I’ve been preparing for it for the past few months. As I sit in front of my dad’s gun case and stare at the sleek, black gun inside, all I can think about is my finger on the trigger, taking aim, and killing people. The gun is an AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle. It’s the kind of gun with a long barrel and a stock you put up against your shoulder. This gun is going to change lives tomorrow. 

Pg 2: As I walk through the hallways, I cherry pick the classrooms that are the easiest targets. These ones are close to the entrance and have windows in the doors. I need to figure out how I’ll sneak the gun in. Maybe a duffel bag will work. I just hope security doesn’t stop me. 

Pg 2: Though I enjoy the hunting aspect of guns, I have contemplated making bombs. The instructions to make them are surprisingly available online. I could build one with a pressure cooker and remote-control car. Or | could make chemical weapons through mixing ammonia and bleach. The problem with that is that it would require a gas mask and bombs are time consuming to build. 

Pg 3: High school’s the best target. I’m the most familiar with the layout, I know where the doors with windows are, and it’s the most convenient to enter. Truthfully, I would rather become a serial killer than a mass shooter. Serial killers are romanticized a lot more. They get tons of love letters and Netflix documentaries about them. Mass shooters are brushed off unless they are truly unique or good-looking. 

Pg 3: It’d be hard to tell me apart from the hundreds of other Asian guys at my school in a police lineup. My school is mostly Asian and white. It’s in upper-middle class Rockville. It’s a suburban city in Maryland where almost everyone goes to college. 

Pg 8: I pace around my room like an evil mastermind. I’ve put so much effort into this, it has to go well. I don’t bother posting any cheesy “Don’t go to school tomorrow if you value your life” posts for my hundred or so Instagram followers. The last thing I want is to get reported and get a SWAT team sent to my home. I picture the news stories. Deranged killer slays 17. There were no signs, says family and school. Twenty dead, fifteen injured at Rockville school. I plan on shooting myself once the police get there, so I will never be able to see the news stories. I am pretty scared. What if I fail at killing myself and live the rest of my life disabled and serving a life sentence? Maryland doesn’t even have the death penalty, which would be preferable in my opinion. 

Pg 20: Millions of people die each day of cancer, old age, etc. and it’s no big deal. But shoot someone and suddenly everyone is all concerned. The news reports on it, and protests for gun control happen. Nobody can escape death in the end. Why does it matter who delivers the final blow? It would bring me a lot of joy and satisfaction to kill, so it’s kind of worth it, in a way. 

Pg 38: There’s a newspaper announcing a new mass shooting at an elementary school. The kill count isn’t very high. I could probably beat it. My ultimate goal would be to set the world record for the most amount of kills in a shooting. If T have enough time, I’ll try to decapitate my victims with a knife to turn the injuries into deaths.

Pg 38: I don’t get why people hate school shooters so much. I’d be thrilled to be part of a mass shooting. It’d be the most exciting time of my life. I’d either help the shooter out or take a chance at being a hero and fight the shooter with my scrawny arms. I’d probably lose and die.

Pg 41: I really want to be famous. Even infamous. 

Pg 68: If I had the ingredients to make a bomb, I would blow this whole building down. I would mix whatever acid with whatever base, set a timer with some electronic device, then walk away from the action-movielike blast. Dr. Wilson can die in flames, begging for my mercy. I’d feel like a supervillain. 

Pg 71: I’m scared that I’ll turn out just like my parents. My parents thought that they could break the cycle of being bad parents because their parents hit them, and they never hit me. Maybe I think the same way. But the truth is, I sometimes think I’m a pedophile. I get turned on by little kids and want to touch them the same ways I was touched. I know this is wrong. I have never acted on it, and don’t plan to ever. I disgust myself. The pedo thoughts definitely freak me out more than any other thought I’ve had, even the mass shooting. 

Pg 92: “Antisocial disorder means you’re a sociopath,” Damian says. That does sound kind of cool, in a way. “And bipolar people are creative and crazy. If you’re bipolar, you get manic episodes where you get really happy and might even start believing that you’re God.” I hope I have those disorders now. Bipolar actually sounds really fun. 

Pg 122: I reply to them then open Google. I type: School shootings. A whole Wikipedia page pops up dedicated to school shootings. I navigate to the Nashville school shooting. Oh shit, I should make sure my door is locked or else they might take away my phone. I lock the door and flop down on my bed. The shooter was also trans. His name was Aiden Hale, though the news kept calling him Audrey. Makes me want to change my name legally before I commit a shooting to make sure the news doesn’t misgender me. He was suicidal before the shooting. Just like me. He, too, wanted to kill little kids. A rush of adrenaline fills my body. He’s so relatable. 

The hospitalization.

On March 6, two days after the police were turned down at the Ye family’s doorstep, teenager Ye was given an EEP at her residence and taken to Suburban Hospital.

The next week, on March 13, Sergeant Saffar was alerted that hospital staff were so concerned with the threat posed by Ye that they felt they were “required by law to break confidentiality” to notify law enforcement and Ye’s high school. The FBI were also notified.

Two days later, on March 15, FBI agents interviewed Ye’s high school counselor, with whom she’d spoken to regularly from Oct. 2022 to Feb. 2023.

The school counselor revealed that Ye had frequently expressed violent thoughts such as “shooting up the school” and “wanting to hurt other people,” and disturbingly, “would smile while saying it.”

“Ye said [she’d] bring a gun and shoot up the school. Ye would tell her [she] was looking up on the Internet how to get a gun and how to get into the school, laws and certain loopholes,” the police reported the counselor as saying.  

The counselor evaluated Ye’s psychological profile as a patient type who was okay with her plan being the “long game.” She noted that Ye wanted to be famous from the event. 

Although Ye was forbidden from entering the school by trespassing, the teen plotted to attend graduation or walk to Wootton High School, she told the counselor. 

“Ye has said things to the counselor and then followed through on them, i.e. [she] told her [she] wrote an ‘autobiography,’” the arrest warrant noted.

On March 19, Sergeant Saffar and members of the FBI arrived at Suburban Hospital to interview Ye. Ye declined to speak with the group, so the sergeant and agents spoke to Ye’s treating psychologist.

According to the psychologist, Ye had referred to the manifesto as ‘his memoir,’ further displaying that the manifesto demonstrates a planned threat and was not a work of fiction.

“Additionally, Ye disclosed to treatment staff that he had previous thoughts of sexual contact with children. It is noted that the manifesto’s main character acknowledges having pedophilic thoughts. Ye also disclosed that he has been sexually abused and CPS declined the case, the main character also reports being abused, and CPS had declined the case,” the arrest warrant stated.

As a result of all of the gathered evidence, Sergeant Saffar requested a search and seizure warrant for Ye’s residence, which took place on March 21. Her Apple iPhone, Apple iPad, HP laptop and another laptop were seized. 

 “During the search, it was determined that Ye received an email from Discord to his known Gmail account indicating the email had been disabled for violating terms and conditions,” the police report said.

“As stated by Discord, ‘Your account posted content that glorifies or promotes physical or sexual violence against individuals or communities or was involved in servers dedicated to such content.’”

The Twisted Discord Chatroom

Police reviewed Ye’s Discord messages from March. The insights were sickening. A group of users in one chatroom traded videos of the Columbine school shooting security tape and discussed the Bint High School shooting in a positive light.

This particular Discord Channel was referred to as the “Retarded Nations Trenchcoat Mafia,” which the sergeant explained is a tribute to the Columbine shooters and proceeding school shooters who have used trench coats to pay homage to the shooters. 

“Additionally, a review of the phone found handmade drawings depicting shooting scenes with the shooter being labeled as ‘Me’ and others listed as ‘you,’ the police report detailed. 

“A hand-drawn image with the words ‘Confessions of an Almost School Shooter Alex Ye’ with what appears to be a drawn gun were also located and a map of Wootton High School.”

The following images contain excerpts of Instagram direct messages between Ye and Witness One.

Sergeant Saffar notes that the manifesto was shared with others and threatens action that would place more than five people at substantial risk of death or serious physical injury if carried out. 

Following the investigation, Montgomery County Public Schools, specifically Wootton High School, have increased security precautions in place as a result of a valid concern of a school shooting, police said.

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