NEW BRITAIN - Court documents reveal a pattern of violent tendencies by a former Central Connecticut State University student who was arrested last month for possession of large-capacity magazines after stating on social media he was “planning a mass murder.”
Brandon Wagshol, 22, of Norwalk was released on $250,000 bond following a hearing in Stamford Superior Court on Aug. 30. Wagshol recently withdrew from CCSU, his attorney Darnell Crosland said.
In his latest run-in with police, Norwalk police arrested Wagshol outside the Bedford Avenue apartment he shared with his father on Aug. 15, after the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Threat Operations Center received a tip that Wagshol was attempting to purchase large-capacity magazines from out of state. Ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds are illegal to purchase in Connecticut as of gun law changes in 2013.
Wagshol admitted to authorities that he purchased four, 30-round magazines, but said he had “no intention of committing any mass shootings, at all whatsoever,” according to a statement he gave to police.
The tip about the magazine purchasing came from family members of Wagshol, who said they received a suspicious call from him in which he expressed interest in buying high-capacity magazines in New Hampshire because he knew they were illegal to have in Connecticut. Wagshol also said in the call he was trying to build an AR-15 from parts bought online.
When the FBI followed up and spoke to Wagshol’s mother, who divorced Wagshol’s father about 15 years ago, she confirmed her son told her he was building an AR-15 in the event World War III broke out, the warrant for Wagshol’s arrested stated. His mother said when she asked him why he needed high capacity magazines that were illegal in Connecticut, he responded, “Because, f-- you.”
The 17-page warrant obtained by The Press on Wednesday outlines several instances of aggressive behaviors, encounters with police and social media postings showing infatuation with violence, guns and military gear, by Wagshol. Some of the incidents date as far back as to 2008, when he was 11 years old.
According to the anonymous family member who alerted police, her family stopped having family gatherings for Thanksgiving because they didn’t want to be near or around Wagshol’s “scary odd” behavior, the warrant said. Wagshol popped balloons at a bar mitzvah after being told not to, and spoke about hacking into government data bases, one of the family members said.
In 2008, police were told that Wagshol said, “I’ll make Virginia Tech look like nothing,” after a fellow student at his school was talking and making it hard for him to concentrate.
In February 2010, police found on Wagshol’s Facebook profile the lists of: “MMA fighting, hunting, violent video games, and working out. PLANNING MASS MURDER!!!!” under activities, and “MMA fighting, VIDEO GAMES, Girls, and working out like mad! IM GENOCIDAL,” under interests.
The warrant revealed that in 2013, Wagshol called police during an alleged burglary at his home. The document stated Wagshol said he cut the would-be burglar with an ax and the man ran off, but after further investigation by police, Wagshol said the incident didn’t actually happen and that he was having a “lucid dream.”
In March 2018, Wagshol was arrested at his mother’s house as an adult for breach of peace in a domestic incident in which he knocked over a table when he became enraged over household issues with an unidentified victim, the warrant said.
Wagshol’s mother told FBI agents that Wagshol was expelled from a technical high school in Stamford after he researched the cost of a handgun on the school’s computers. She also said about 18 to 24 months ago, Wagshol was sent to a psychiatric treatment facility after he attempted to force his way into a bank in Stamford.
Investigators couldn’t find a report about an incident at a Stamford bank involving Wagshol, the warrant said, but did find a March 2018 report saying police had to help secure Wagshol at Stamford Hospital when he tried to escape after being told he was being involuntary committed on a psychiatric hold.
In conjunction with his most recent arrest and his release from custody on Aug. 30, Wagshol will be on GPS monitoring and will remain on house arrest, allowed out only for genuine medical emergencies, and must report to probation in person every day. He must also not possess weapons or ammunition, not apply for a pistol permit, not leave the state and must undergo an evaluation for counseling and medication.
Washol was set to enter his second semester at CCSU this fall to study biology after graduating from Norwalk Community College, Crosland has said. CCSU wants Wagshol to return to the school, but after the case is resolved, he added. CCSU spokeswoman Janice Palmer confirmed Wagshol is no longer at the school, but said the university has not expressed interest in his return. The school is waiting for the resolution of the case before making a decision on if he will ever be allowed to enroll again. He is currently banned from the campus.
Crosland said Thursday some details outlined in the warrant were unfounded, like the Virginia Tech comment being overheard by someone who was unidentified. Wagshol had made very clear he had no intentions of a committing a mass shooting, as evidenced by his statement to police, and “I take him at his word,” Crosland added.
The Stamford-based attorney went on to say a competency evaluation won’t likely be part of his defense as Wagshol is “very competent.” But some other avenues concerning the mental health of Wagshol may be explored.
Wagshol is due back in Stamford Superior Court on Sept. 20. Crosland said he is looking to file motions to modify Wagshol’s conditions of release by removing the reporting to probation everyday and reducing his bond amount, which could adjust his client’s privileges, should he go back in to custody.
The bond amount set was an overreaction based on the current climate of the country that has had several mass shooting recently, Crosland said.
Charles Paullin can be reached at 860-801-5074 or email@example.com.