Trial opens in purported plot for mass shooting at Norco College in 2018 – San Bernardino Sun

A trial began this week in Superior Court in Riverside in the case of two men who prosecutors say plotted to gun down people at Norco College in 2018.

Jacob Ryan McBain, 31, of Norco, is being tried first, separately from Oregon resident Tarence Michael Thomas, 30. Thomas’ trial is scheduled to start April 18.

McBain is charged with conspiracy, attempted murder, solicitation to commit murder, being a felon or addict in possession of a firearm, possession of an assault weapon and illegal possession of ammunition. Thomas is charged with conspiracy. They have pleaded not guilty.

A trial brief filed by the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office says the Sheriff’s Department learned of the possible plot when a friend of McBain reported receiving a Facebook message from McBain that said he “wanted to be killed by the police after he killed numerous people” and that someone would help him.

Sheriff’s Investigator Darryl Robertson, who testified on Monday and Tuesday, used the message to trace McBain to a home on Trail Street in Norco, where McBain lived with a man named Colby Strebe. Strebe told investigators that he took in McBain, who had been homeless in Oregon, and hired him as a housekeeper, the trial brief said.

Strebe said he owned an AR-15 and two handguns, all loaded, and that McBain had access to them. McBain was arrested, and the weapons were seized. Strebe is on the defense witness list.

Investigators traced some of McBain’s Facebook messages to Thomas, the trial brief said. Among them was a conversation about a mass shooting.

“When McBain stated that he wanted to become a professional mass shooter, Thomas responded, ‘Definitely sounds entertaining, only girls right, or both?’ To which McBain responded, ‘Both’ ” the trial brief said.

Investigators flew  to Oregon to interview Thomas, where he made incriminating statements related to the plan, the trial brief said.

According to an investigator’s sworn declaration written to obtain an arrest warrant, “Thomas said he has previously researched mass shootings, to see how they do it and where they go,” the investigator wrote. Thomas specifically mentioned studying what he said were mistakes made by law enforcement “and the suspect in Florida,” referring to the February 2018 massacre of 17 students and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Thomas told the investigator that he believes being a mass shooter “is wrong,” but that he would do it “if he were smoking meth again,” the declaration said.

McBain was arrested on Feb. 21, 2018. Thomas was arrested on April 9, 2018.

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