'Erase Them': Former Marine Charged for Allegedly Planning Attack on 'White People'

A gavel rests inside a court room
A gavel rests inside the court room of the 100th Air Refueling Wing base legal office at RAF Mildenhall, England, May 28, 2019. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Joseph Barron)

Joshua Cobb, 23, was arrested Friday and charged with transmitting a threat in interstate and foreign commerce after allegedly posting plans for a mass attack in his home state of New Jersey on social media the U.S. attorney's office for the state said Monday.

"I want to cause mayhem on the white community. The reason I specifically want to target white people is because as a Black male, they will never understand my struggles," Cobb allegedly wrote in 2022, more than a year before he joined the Marine Corps.

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"I want to erase them," he posted, according to a criminal complaint filed by prosecutors last week. "All of them really, but in this case as many as I possibly can."

Citing Marine Corps records, prosecutors said that Cobb attended basic training at Parris Island, South Carolina, in June 2023. He then reported for duty to the Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms in California the following February, only to be discharged earlier this month, the complaint indicated.

"1st Marine Division is aware of the arrest of Joshua Cobb by civilian authorities in New Jersey," a spokesperson for his last unit, 2nd Lt. Giselle Cancino, told Military.com via email Tuesday.

She confirmed that Cobb served from June 2023 to May 10, 2024 -- the day of his arrest -- having attended the School of Infantry-East at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. He served as a rifleman with 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, and separated from the military as a private first class.

"Cobb received a certificate of commendation, but no personal military devices, nor did he deploy during his brief time in service," Cancino said. She did not specify why Cobb was separated from the military.

The posts on social media indicated Cobb was planning an attack in New Jersey in 2023, though he did not specify a date, according to officials. Those posts said that Cobb had two of four weapons he wanted to use for the attack on "an important holiday to their race."

Prosecutors said Cobb admitted to authorities to writing the posts on social media when interviewed in April aboard Twentynine Palms. He allegedly provided detailed information on three locations for the attack, which included a gym and a grocery store.

"When I would fantasize about these things, I would get very detailed," he allegedly told law enforcement last month, adding that he imagined committing the attack at the gym, for example, and "then at that point go AWOL, go to like a different country or something."

The complaint alleged that Cobb idolized Nikolas Cruz, a mass murderer who killed 17 people at Parkland High School in Florida. He said he watched videos of Cruz and "felt a connection" to him. He also allegedly discussed in social media posts hopes of becoming a serial killer, according to prosecutors.

"Imagine the rush you'd feel while shooting some sh-- up," he allegedly posted. "Probably could get literally high off the adrenaline alone. I'd probably OD on my own adrenaline after the 10th body goes down."

An attorney listed as Cobb's representative did not offer any comment when contacted by Military.com on Tuesday.

Cobb waived a preliminary hearing Monday and remained in detention pending a bail hearing later this week; he faces a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

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