Police believe that a suspect in the death of a 19-year-old man in Frederick County, Maryland plotted even more bloodshed. Joshua David Eckenrode, also 19, had “potential plans” for a “mass casualty event,” said Frederick County Sherriff Chuck Jenkins, according to WUSA9.
Right now the death toll remains at one. Curtis Mason Smith’s family reported him missing on Friday, March 19, but he was soon found dead in a car at an abandoned barn. Police said the death was suspicious.
Authorities said that Eckenrode and Smith went to school together at Governor Thomas Johnson High School. Jenkins specified there was “no reason to believe” they planned the mass casualty event together. That’s all allegedly on the defendant.
Detectives said that they tracked down Eckenrode as someone who allegedly met up with the victim on the day of the disappearance. The defendant allegedly told investigators that Smith, a former classmate, was maybe going to sell him a car. Detectives noted that Eckenrode seemed “uncomfortable” during their talk, with heavy breathing, a rapid pulse, not answering questions several times, and looking away.
Search warrants allegedly turned up a arsenal of weapons, including handguns, an AR-15 rifle, magazines, explosive devices, and “possible bomb-making materials.” Detectives said Eckenrode also left behind a letter addressed to his family. He said he was sorry for “having to go out this way.”
“There was also a plan of action written detailing guns strategically stored in different ‘Stages’ at an unknown location,” stated the charging document. “The above mentioned evidence was consistent with Eckenrode possibly intending on committing a mass shooting and/or mass casualty event.”
This plan was unclear even to authorities, with Jenkins describing the notes as “basically vague information about potential plans to carry something out.”
What wasn’t vague was the evidence allegedly tying Eckenrode to the murder of Smith. Investigators said they found human blood — a large red spot — on the driveway at the home of the suspect’s mother. Neighbor Dennis Pesuti told WUSA9 that he saw the defendant hosing the driveway down at about 4 p.m. on Friday. Authorities claimed to also find trash bags containing items such as blood-soaked towels, and a blood-soaked sweatshirt that they think belonged to Smith.
🚨🚨NEW >> Frederick County Maryland law enforcement say arrest of Joshua Eckenrode leads to discovery of TWO Assembled explosive devices… And evidence indicates he was intent upon caring out a mass shooting or a mass casualty event #breaking @WUSA9 @CBSNews – more SOON pic.twitter.com/jhrcQbgcup
— Mike Valerio (@MikevWUSA) March 24, 2021
The alleged motive behind the murder remains unclear. A friend of the defendant, speaking on condition of anonymity, described him as having a bad temper, and having gone through school counseling before.
Eckenrode “didn’t like it when you disagreed with him,” he told the outlet.
[Screengrab via WJZ]
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