Crime - Sacto 911

Suspect in Davis mosque vandalism dreamed of mass murder, police say

Davis mosque vandalism suspect Lauren Kirk-Coehlo wrote text and social media messages expressing her desire to commit mass murder and glorifying Dylann Roof, the 22-year-old man convicted of gunning down nine African Americans in a Charleston, S.C., church, according to a Davis Police Department declaration filed Tuesday in Yolo Superior Court.

Kirk-Coehlo, 30, was arrested Tuesday morning and charged with a hate crime in a Jan. 22 vandalism attack at Davis Islamic Center, which included breaking windows and wrapping pork around the door handle of one of the mosque’s exterior doors, Davis police said. Muslims are forbidden to eat or touch pork.

In requesting that Kirk-Coehlo’s bail be set at $1 million, Davis police Detective Daniel La Fond wrote that a survey of Kirk-Coehlo’s text messages showed she had written about her dreams of murdering people. He also wrote that she had texted about her self-described “mental problems” in a conversation with her mother.

Her family could not be reached for comment Wednesday. The Yolo County Public Defender’s Office said Wednesday that it was waiting to see whether Kirk-Coehlo would retain her own legal representation.

La Fond also said Kirk-Coehlo had conducted several web searches about Alexandre Bissonnette, a suspect in the Jan. 29 mosque attack in Quebec City that killed six people and injured 19. Kirk-Coehlo had searched for information about bomb vests and said in a text exchange with an unidentified party that while she had not killed anyone yet, “I have dreams and aspirations” and “I would like to kill … many people,” the declaration read.

“I believe Kirk-Coehlo is an immediate danger to the public,” La Fond wrote. Kirk-Coehlo is an unemployed UC Berkeley graduate who got her bachelor’s degree in English in May 2010, according to university media relations officer Yasmin Anwar.

After reading the declaration, Judge Samuel MacAdam set Kirk-Coehlo’s bail at $1 million. The bail schedule for that category of crime called for bail of $40,000.

La Fond said his investigation of Kirk-Coehlo’s “hate-motivated vandalism” led to her Twitter account, where one message read “3 cheers for Dylan (sic) Roof” and another commented on how “intelligent” Roof was in interviews. A search of Kirk-Coehlo’s cellphone included derogatory remarks about Jews, Mexicans and African Americans, La Fond wrote.

In addition to mosques in Davis and Woodland, the suspect conducted online searches of other mosques across the country, La Fond wrote.

After the Jan. 22 attack, she posted “Twitter messages indicating how much ‘fun’ she had,” La Fond wrote. About a week after the incident, anti-Muslim graffiti was spray-painted on the walls of the Tarbiya Institute, a Roseville mosque.

Kirk-Coehlo is being held in Yolo County jail, and her arraignment hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Thursday in Superior Court in Woodland. She faces up to six years in prison if convicted, said District Attorney Jeff W. Reisig.

Stephen Magagnini: 916-321-1072, @SteveMagagnini