News /

Maryland Official Says ‘It’s Not a Crime to be Transgender’ When Reporter Asks Why Officials Omitted Aspiring Shooter's Gender Identity

Law enforcement claims Andrea Ye wrote she wanted to be a serial killer because ‘they are romanticized a lot more’

Maryland Official Says ‘It’s Not a Crime to be Transgender’ When Reporter Asks Why Officials Omitted Aspiring Shooter's Gender Identity

An elected official pushed back against a reporter during a Friday press conference discussing law enforcement’s thwarting of a planned school shooting in Montgomery County, Maryland.

An April 18 news release from the Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD) announced that 18-year-old Andrea Ye, who identifies as Alex Ye, was arrested on the day prior following a joint investigation by the MCPD and the FBI Baltimore Field Office.

Authorities launched the investigation after being alerted to a 129-page “manifesto” authored by the teen, who is being held at the Montgomery County Detention Center without bond.

During a Q&A following today’s press conference, an offscreen veteran reporter pressed Montgomery County Executive Marc Erlich about details involving Ye that were provided by officials.

“Yesterday when this story broke, I read this story, I’ve been covering crime in this town for 20 years,” he said. “What is the reluctance of the county to admit that this individual was transgender? This is the fourth time that we have seen this happen very recently.”

The reporter was referring to mass casualty events that occurred in Aberdeen, Maryland, Denver, Colorado Springs, and Nashville in recent years.

“And right here, I hear all of our leadership saying to us today – and what we do in journalism, what we try not to do is bury the lede. Why am I hearing about this from the New York Post?” he asked.

“’Cause it’s not a lede,” Erlich said. “Do you publicize every time somebody gets murdered that it’s a white, Christian male who’s heterosexual? No, you don’t. Are these the only crimes that get committed?”

“You never publish somebody’s sexual orientation … why you’re focused on it being a transgender is beyond me,” he continued. “It is not a news story, it is not a crime to be transgender, and I’m sorry you feel that way.”

“That’s not what I said,” the reporter interjected.

Earlier in the press conference, county Police Chief Marcus Jones unveiled new details that led to Ye’s arrest.

In a preliminary investigation, officials found evidence that Ye Google-searched “gun ranges near me” and “minimum age to enter gun range” shortly after reportedly saying she wanted to commit a shooting at the high school and elementary school she had attended.

Though Ye claimed her manifesto was fiction, investigators discovered writings wherein she admitted wanting to become a serial killer rather than a mass murderer because “serial killers are romanticized a lot more,” Jones said.

On March 6, Ye was taken to a hospital on the strength of an emergency evaluation petition.

A little over a week later, a psychologist who met with Ye told officials that the teenager was preoccupied with self-harm, school shootings and explosives.

After Ye declined to speak with MCPD and FBI officials, they obtained a search warrant on March 21 that allowed them to seize Ye’s iPhone, iPad and laptop. Messages revealed conversations about Columbine and similar shootings, drawing depicting shootings, as well as searches for 2023 mass shootings, a Sandy Hook game, and an instance of a terroristic threat.

MCPD’s community engagement division's crisis intervention teams coordinated with county public schools to increase security, particularly at Wootton High School.

Ye was taken into custody April 17.

Jones added that this school year alone, the county has received 140 threats.

“One of the comments Mr. Ye had made in one of his postings was the difficulty of getting guns here,” Erlich added. “I will point out Maryland has some of the strictest gun laws and this may be a helpful thing that he found our gun laws an impediment to getting armed.”

Adrian Norman contributed to this report

*For corrections please email [email protected]*