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A recently separated Marine threatened to go to “a rich white area and just start shooting,” as part of a series of social media posts in which he wrote that “my rampage will soon happen … I plan to now continue accumulating the necessary equipment to execute. Once all equipment is in, time will then tell. You all will die.”

Joshua Cobb was separated from the Marines in May and is now in federal custody. He wrote the posts in 2022, before joining the Marines in mid-2023. Court documents do not specify how or when Marines Corps or civilian authorities discovered the posts, but Justice Department officials interviewed Cobb in April and he was separated from the Marines one month later. Cobb is now in custody after allegedly admitting to FBI agents that he wrote the posts, court records show. 

In his posts, Cobb said he wanted to “progress” into being a serial killer and later told FBI agents he felt empathy for mass shooters. Cobb also allegedly told the FBI that his plans involved attacking a gym, a grocery store, or going to a “a rich white area.”

Cobb allegedly became so angry when FBI agents told him they were seizing his cell phone that he told them, “These are the things that make someone want to do the things we talked about,” according to court records.

He also allegedly told a fellow Marine following his interview with the FBI, “This is why people like me shoot people,” court records show.

Cobb’s defense attorney declined to comment when contacted by Task & Purpose on Wednesday.

Cobb’s career in the Marine Corps was extremely brief. After attending recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina in June 2023, he became a terminal private first class, according to the 1st Marine Division.

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Cobb went on to graduate from the School of Infantry – East at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and in February he was assigned as a rifleman to 1st Battalion, 7th Marines at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California. He was separated from the Marine Corps on May 10. He received a certificate of commendation but no personal devices and did not deploy during his brief time on active duty.

Marine Corps officials have not publicly released any information about why Cobb was separated or what type of discharge he received.

Cobb is accused of making the threatening comments on social media before joining the Marine Corps, beginning with this December 2022 post on SMP-1: “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. Same way I will never understand their struggles, but I don’t care to. I want to erase them. All of them really, but in this case as many as I possibly can. As of today, I have officially began planning my attack. It is going to take place in 2023 in the state of New Jersey, I have not chosen a exact date but I am going to be sure that it is close to an important holiday for their race. I have a location in mind already which I have frequented for the past year and I am certain nobody there is armed to be able to stop me from spraying them to the ground. I have already acquired 2 of the 4 firearms I plan to use for my attack and I also know my entry and exit points after the mayhem.”

In subsequent social media posts, Cobb allegedly talked about killing cats with a crossbow; he described the adrenaline rush that comes from “shoot some s—t up;” he claimed that most members of his family suffered from mental illness but he refused to get evaluated because he did not want to lose his firearms license; and he wrote that “bloodshed” was the only way out for him.

“I hope I do progress into a serial killer because I f–king hate life man,” Cobb allegedly wrote in one post. “But one day everyone will suffer. I promise I will make everyone feel my f–king pain. My deep, sincere raw & sharp pain.”

On April 3, law enforcement officers seized Cobb’s phone and found entries in the notes section that included one about how he intended to save enough money “to purchase the appropriate weaponry for my killings.”

Cobb subsequently spoke with FBI agents at Twentynine Palms, during which he explained how he had detailed plans about striking a gym in New Jersey that included the best place where he could park his car so he could make his getaway and then “go like AWOL, go to like a different country or something.”

He also talked about other mass shooters, allegedly saying he felt the pain of the gunman who killed 17 people and wounded 17 others at Parkland high school, Florida, in 2018. Cobb allegedly expressed admiration for a white supremacist who killed 10 black people at a Buffalo supermarket in 2022.

At one point during the interview, Cobb allegedly said he wanted to attack a grocery store in Robbinsville, New Jersey because it was a place where “all these f–king rich-ass white people” go.

“And honestly, I still feel this way because it is a true thing because most people who are on the wealthier end spectrum, they don’t understand the spectrum they’re not living, they don’t know what it’s like to be in a bad spot,” Cobb told FBI agents. “I’m sure they have their own version of a bad spot, but it aint nothing like someone from the other side’s bad spot. So, my thing was to like bring the pain to them.”

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