TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A Texas man with alleged ties to white nationalist and “incel” movements was arrested after federal agents were alerted to a social media post indicating he planned to attack a conservative student event in Tampa last month. .
Federal counterterrorism investigators allege 19-year-old Alejandro Velasquez threatened “retribution” against attendees at the Turning Point USA student action summit and made plans to travel to Tampa to carry it out. Velasquez, known as “LatinoZoomer” online, was also arrested for child pornography after images of pre-pubescent children being exploited by adults were allegedly found on his phone.
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According to the criminal complaint filed by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Taskforce on Aug. 11, Velásquez posted a screenshot of a Discord message on his Instagram account that read, “July 22 is the day of retribution on the day I take revenge against all mankind that all of you will pay for my suffering. [Student Action Summit] will be the turning point of the LatinoZoomer tradition [gun emoji]”. The post also included a photo of Velasquez that the FBI said matched his driver’s license photo. A screenshot of the Instagram post indicated that the caption was later edited to read: “This post is not serious, I love people!!!”.
The complaint compared the wording used in the post to the video filmed by mass shooter Elliot Rodger before he killed six people and wounded several more in 2014. Rodger has posthumously become an icon of the “incel” ideology, which centers around “extreme hate”. of sexually active women and men, according to the FBI. The ideology has since been linked to numerous attacks by young people.
The Tampa Police Department learned of Velasquez’s social media post on July 18 and determined it was “a credible threat against participants attending the SAS conference.” They obtained an arrest warrant for Velasquez on July 21.
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The complaint said Velasquez bought a ticket for an American Airlines flight from Austin to Tampa on July 22, but canceled it the night before. Law enforcement in San Antonio arrested Velasquez on July 22 on the Tampa warrant, which charged him with “written or electronic threats to kill, do bodily harm, or carry out a mass shooting or act of terrorism”. Velasquez’s phone was seized and sent to the FBI, where agents said they found a screenshot containing three images of child pornography.
According to a report by the San Antonio Express-News, Velásquez may have been motivated to plan the attack by his support for the white nationalist group America First and its founder, Nick Fuentes. Turning Point USA banned Fuentes and tried to ban his followers, known as “Groypers,” from their event last year.
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Since his arrest, Fuentes has denied any formal affiliation between Velásquez and America First. stating in a Telegram post, “Claims on social media that he was somehow part of our team are completely false.” Fuentes acknowledged that their paths crossed at CPAC last year, but said Velasquez had “nothing to do” with him or his organization.
The Student Action Summit drew attention from other white supremacists, who were seen flying Florida state and “DeSantis Country” flags along with Nazi iconography and anti-Semitic symbols outside the event . Turning Point USA said they were not affiliated with their organization, and calls to Gov. Ron DeSantis to denounce the display later went unanswered.