HILLSBORO — The local man charged with an attempted hate crime and possession of a machine gun has a history with local police and courts stretching back over a year ago.
The federal indictment of Tres Genco, 21, of Hillsboro, was unsealed on Tuesday in Cincinnati, where Genco appeared in court.
The Associated Press reported Wednesday that Genco identifies with a group that despises women. He appeared in federal court in Cincinnati on Wednesday on charges related to his plans to kill sorority members at an unidentified university in Ohio, authorities said.
According to a federal court document, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Special Agent Timur Housum stated:
“On or about March 12, 2020, at approximately 4:05 p.m., HSCO (Highland County Sheriff’s Office) received a telephone call from an individual located at an address in Highland County, Ohio. Individual 1 stated, in substance and in part, that Tres Genco, the defendant, lived at the address; Genco had locked himself in his bedroom with a gun; Genco had threatened Individual 1; and Individual 1 heard Genco cock a gun.
“In response to the telephone call, on or about March 12, 2020, at approximately 4:16 p.m., HCSO officers went to the address. After establishing tactical position at the outside of the address, HCSO officers made contact with Individual 1 and directed Individual 1 to exit the address.
“Individual 1 exited the address, and joined the HCSO officers. Individual 1 stated, in substance and in part, that Genco had a rifle, and that Genco had become erratic and somewhat violent over the past several months. At HCSO officers’ direction, Individual 1 called Genco and instructed him to exit the address with his hands in plain view.
“In response to the call, Genco exited the address and HCSO officers took him into custody.
“An HCSO officer asked Genco about the firearm referenced in the dispatch call. Genco stated, in substance and in part, that the only firearm he had was a rifle located in his vehicle. Genco gave HCSO officers permission to open his vehicle, which was parked in the driveway, and directed the officers to the trunk. HCSO officers opened the trunk, pulled up a fabric cover, and located the following items: (1) an AR-15-style rifle with suspected ‘bump-stock’ attached; (2) several loaded magazines; (3) body armor; and, (4) boxes of ammunition. …
“Individual 1 further told officers, in substance and in part, that (1) in the past, Individual 1 had found writings by Genco which Individual 1 believed indicated that Genco was planning to hurt someone; and, (2) Genco had a handgun that Individual 1 found a few days prior.
“An HCSO officer then approached Genco and read him his rights. Genco stated, in substance and in part: (1) Genco understood his rights; (2) Genco denied having a handgun; and (3) Genco gave officers permission to search his bedroom in the address.”
The ATF agent stated that the HCSO located “a Glock-type, 9mm Luger caliber semi-automatic pistol, with no manufacturer’s marks or serial number. Upon learning HCSO officers had found the handgun, Genco requested an attorney.”
HCSO officers then sought and obtained a search warrant for the address.
“It was good police work from our deputies,” Sheriff Donnie Barrera told The Times-Gazette Thursday. “Our deputies did a thorough investigation on the initial call and came across a lot of evidence that was unsettling to them. They, in turn, made some phone calls. Our detectives got involved to go through the interviews.”
Barrera added, “It’s a great pleasure to know that you got very capable deputies at handling cases of this magnitude and grateful that the FBI got involved to possibly stop an assault on an Ohio university somewhere.”
Federal prosecutors in a statement released on Wednesday said Genco identifies himself as an “incel” — involuntary celibate — and has interacted with an online community of mostly men who advocate for violence against women because they believe they are unjustly denied sexual or romantic attention.
The statement points to a 2014 shooting committed by a self-identified incel named Elliot Rodger, who killed six people and injured 14 others outside a sorority house at the University of California, Santa Barbara, before killing himself, the AP reported.
According to prosecutors, Genco frequently posted on an incel website in 2019 and 2020. In one post, he wrote that he had used a squirt gun to spray “foids” in the face with orange juice, something Rodger had done before the Santa Barbara killings.
“Foids” is the shortened incel term for “feminoid.”
Genco conducted surveillance at an Ohio university in January 2020 and wrote a document that month titled “Isolated” that he described as “the writings of the deluded and homicidal,” prosecutors said. He signed it, “Your hopeful friend and murderer.”
Messages seeking comment were left on Wednesday with Genco’s newly appointed public defender, the AP reported.
Sentenced in 2020
The Times-Gazette reported in October 2020 that “Tres Presley Genco, 20, Bainbridge, was given 17 months imprisonment with 224 days credit for time already served, following his conviction on a fourth-degree felony charge of attempting to make a terroristic threat while in possession of a weapon in commission of the crime, and a forfeiture specification.
“The court’s judgment entry of confinement stated that after completion of his prison term, the court would consider granting occupational driving privileges providing Genco showed proof of financial responsibility.
“It ordered that Genco’s 2009 Audi TT automobile to be titled to the Highland County commissioners as a forfeiture specification in his two-count conviction.
“Court records showed that on June 19, Genco entered a plea of not guilty due to being mentally ill at the time of the alleged offenses. However, on Aug. 5, the Forensic Evaluation Service Center submitted documentation to the court that Genco was competent to stand trial.
“Records showed that he entered a guilty plea to the charges on Sept. 17.”
The Associated Press contributed to this story.