The arrest of three young men and a teen on charges of plotting to attack a Muslim settlement in upstate New York has raised a number of questions. Here’s what we know about suspects Vincent Vetromile, Andrew Crysel, Andrew Colaneri and a 16-year-old The Associated Press is not naming because of his age. All have pleaded not guilty. Their families declined comment, and defense lawyers did not return calls for comment.
Until he was arrested in January, Vetromile, 19, lived with his parents and sister in a small house on a quiet street in Greece, a suburb of Rochester, New York. He studied heating and air conditioning repair at Monroe Community College through the summer of 2017. Vetromile, Crysel and the 16-year-old knew each other from their membership in Boy Scout Troop 240, where the older two earned the rank of Eagle.
Crysel, 18, lived with his grandparents in East Rochester and was a student at Monroe Community College in early 2018. He and Colaneri have been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, a milder form of autism, their families have said previously. Crysel was freed soon after the arrests when his grandparents posted bail. But he was jailed again, along with the other three, after prosecutors lodged additional charges against them and a judge raised his bail.
Colaneri, 20, attended Monroe Community College in 2016 and 2017 but struggled with a student loan and dropped out. He lived with his mother and had a job stocking shelves at a Dollar General store. “Honestly, he’s the smartest person I’ve met,” said Chris Torres, a Missouri teen who became friends with Colaneri through an online game and recalled Colaneri helping him with his homework. Until last year, they talked almost every day by Skype, with Colaneri confiding about dealing with Asperger’s and depression.
Rebecca Lee, the mother of Colaneri’s girlfriend, described him as gentle and socially awkward. Colaneri hated if you killed insects, Lee said. She recalled his rescue of a lost kitten. He wasn’t much interested in politics, but sometimes seemed confounded by partisan divisions.
THE YOUNGEST SUSPECT:
The 16-year-old was a student at Greece Odyssey Academy, a public school serving middle and high school students. He lived with his mother in Greece. In court papers, his attorney describes him as a “science-oriented kid.” Neighbors recalled the teen and two taller youths shooting targets with air rifles last year in his backyard. Most often, though, they’d see him inside, pecking away at a computer.