Tristan Wix, 25, was arrested on August 16 in Daytona Beach, Florida after sending text messages to his ex-girlfriend threatening to commit acts of terrorism. Wix’s ex tipped off police after receiving disturbing comments such as “a good 100 kills would be nice. I already have a location (laughing cry face emoji) is that bad?”
At a news conference held soon after the arrest, Volusia County Sheriff Michael Chitwood told reporters Wix sent the messages after he’d lost his job and the couple had broken up.
According to Chitwood, a multi-agency task force comprised of the Volusia County Crime Center, New Smyrna Beach Police Department, Daytona Beach Shores Department of Public Safety and Florida Department of Law Enforcement worked to track Wix down and take him into custody without incident. Wix does not appear to have any prior criminal history.
According to Volusia County documents, Wix was booked into the Volusia County Jail and is currently being held without bond.
Here’s what you need to know Tristan Scott Wix.
1. Tristan Wix Said He Wanted to “Break a World Record for Longest Confirmed Kill Ever”
Wix sent several unsettling texts to his ex-girlfriend. In one message he discussed his disdain for school shootings. “A school is a weak target.. id be more likely to open fire on a large crowd of people from over 3 miles away.. I’d wanna break a world record for longest confirmed kill ever.”
He sent another message talking about his interest in a mass shooting. “I wanna open fire on a large crowd of people from over 3 miles away before I die and I need a spotter (laughing cry face emoji).”
Wix did not appear to want to harm his ex-girlfriend. “What you wanna do after the fact, is your own business, if you want to plan to escape we can work on that. But I don’t intend on walking away alive, unless I see it fit.”
In another message he told her that threating a shooting wasn’t an issue. “Ah well even if you told someone, me saying I wanna do it and think about it is not the same as actually doing it lol. Was kinda hoping someone would come into my life worth not doing it for, for the sake of all those people (laughing cry face emoji). I’m not crazy I just wanna die and I wanna have fun doing it, but I’m the most patient person in the world.”
2. Wix Didn’t Seem to Know Why He Was Being Arrested
After viewing Wix’s violent plans, police attempted to track him down. They went to his worksite, only to discover he’d recently lost his job. When authorities finally located Wix and surrounded him with guns drawn in a Winn-Dixie grocery store parking lot, he seemed confused. He even apologized for his reaction while being swarmed by police.
“Can I ask what’s going on?” Wix asked one of the arresting officers immediately after he was handcuffed next to his Cadillac with Tennessee tags. One officer told him someone else would speak to him about the offense.
Wix then wanted to know if he was being arrested for an unpaid debt. An officer responded by asking if he had any outstanding warrants, to which he said, “Not that I know of.”
3. Police Said Wix Fits the Profile of a Mass Shooter
Chitwood believes Tristan Wix had the potential to carry out his threats. “When you look at this kid’s background, he is the profile of a shooter,” he told CNN. “He lost his job, he lost his girlfriend, he’s depressed, he’s got the ammunition and he wants to become known for being the most prolific killer in American history.”
During a press conference, Chitwood described Wix as “psychotic,” revealing that during his interview the suspect repeatedly referred to himself in the third person. Chitwood went on to say that regardless of the news media or external events, “There are people in our communities that are motivated to be killers.”
4. Wix Lied About Owning a Weapon & Said he Was “Fascinated” by Mass Shootings
Wix originally told detectives he didn’t own any weapons but was fascinated by mass shootings. A search of Wix’s Daytona Beach residence uncovered a 22-gauge hunting rifle and 400 rounds of ammunition. It’s unknown if the gun was legally obtained.
Chitwood affirmed that law enforcement needs to take all possible shooting threats seriously in order to deter perpetrators hoping to mimic El Paso gunman Patrick Crusius and Dayton shooter Connor Betts. “All of these threats have to be vetted,” he emphasized.
5. Police Are Calling Wix’s Ex-Girlfriend “A Real Hero”
Call her “A real hero,” Chitwood commended Wix’s ex-girlfriend for alerting authorities to Wix’s potentially deadly plan. “This is the way the system is supposed to work,” he said.
During the same week Wix was arrested, authorities apprehended self-described white nationalist James Patrick Reardon. Reardon threatened to shoot up a Jewish community center in Youngstown, Ohio. In a National Geographic documentary about the Charlottesville shootings where he described he said that all races should have their own homeland.
NBC NY reported that New York plastic surgeon Matthew Bonnano was also taken into custody after patrons at a bar heard him say he wanted to kill his wife and family. Police discovered assault-style rifles, ammunition, and knives in the back of the physician’s BMW. Many of the weapons were illegal.