WALLER, Texas — (DMN) – Authorities in Waller County, Texas believe they have thwarted a planned attack on a local high school by a man in police custody in connection with the murder of his family. Trey Sesler tearfully confessed to killing his family during a jailhouse interview with investigators Wednesday afternoon, authorities said. During that interview, investigators said Sesler admitted to committing other crimes in the Waller County area over the past several years – things like killing animals, shooting at closed businesses and schools in the middle of the night and setting fires.
Investigators said today that Sesler indicated he planned to carry out a “Columbine type” attack on Waller High School. News accounts indicated me have an accomplice but authorities stressed during a midday news conference that they have not found evidence of an accomplice. They also said the investigation is ongoing. Investigators were working Thursday to verify Sesler’s claims of criminal activity. “It is our goal to keep this community safe and continue this investigation for as long as it takes. This will include more interviews and reviewing data that comes in from search warrants issued on computers used by Sesler,” the Waller County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release Thursday.
Sesler posted videos of himself firing weapons on YouTube prior to the triple homicide. “If you come to that point, what do you have on your mind,” Waller County Sheriff R. Glenn Smith said. “I certainly don’t think it was something that just happened, all of a sudden, in one bad argument. These kinds of things, probably something had been going on with his young man for a while.” Sesler was arrested Tuesday night, just hours after police found the bodies of his parents – Lawton Ray and Rhonda Wyse Sesler – and his brother, 26-year-old Mark Alan Sesler, at their home in Waller.
Police are not sure exactly when the victims were shot, but said it could have been as early as Monday afternoon. Police were called to the home by concerned family members around 1 p.m. Tuesday. Investigators described the gruesome scene as a “war zone.” “The best way for me to describe the residence is it looked like a war zone – a tremendous amount of damage inside the residence, the crime scene was not contained to one area of the residence. It was from one end of the residence to the other, front to back, which is unusual,” Waller Police Chief Phil Rehak said.
Texas Rangers quickly tracked Trey Sesler down at a friend’s house near Magnolia after spotting his car outside the residence. They said he had two guns on him at the time—one inside, and one in his car. Family members said the young suspect was suffering from some type of mental illness. But investigators said they have no idea what exactly might be wrong. The FBI was called in Wednesday to assist with the investigation, and officers searched Sesler’s grandmother’s home in Hempstead for evidence. A friend said Trey Sesler’s parents allowed him to live in the grandmother’s home alone, but continued to support him financially.
Sesler appeared to have an obsession with the Colorado tragedy, where two seniors went on a shooting spree, killing 12 classmates and one teacher before taking their own lives in 1999, the source said. His friends seemed to entertain Sesler’s idea, but whether they would follow through was unclear, the source said. Investigators are taking Sesler’s claims about the plot seriously. He seemed to have an interest in guns and, according to police, used recreational drugs and had recently been asking where he could get body armor. Late Wednesday afternoon, authorities continued to search for guns they said they believed Sesler, an online animation critic, may have kept at a home in Hempstead, the police source said. Authorities were also searching Sesler’s computer and YouTube channel.
Sesler was captured Tuesday night after a daylong manhunt. Authorities spotted him in Magnolia and watched for several hours as he sat inside a 2010 black Ford Mustang before taking him into custody. He is being held in the Waller County Jail on a $3 million bail, said Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis. Lawton Ray Sesler Jr., 58, his wife, Rhonda Wyse Sesler, 57, and their son, Mark Alan Sesler, 26, were found dead at their one-story, ranch-style home. Each had fatal gunshot wounds that appeared to have come from a high-powered rifle, authorities said. Officials had been at the house on Monday, investigating a report of shots fired about 5:30 p.m. They found nothing, police said, but returned on Tuesday afternoon.
In the ransacked home, authorities also found remorseful words written on the walls in black marker that appeared to come from Sesler, said Michael Williams, a crime scene investigator and detective with the Waller Police Department. “He basically said it in the first person, stuff like, ‘I love my family,’ ” Williams said. Williams said that about two weeks ago, Trey Sesler allegedly made a strange call to police. “He just called us one day about something bizarre,” said Williams. “He said he was sitting in the backyard and that a bullet whizzed by his head and that he had gotten his guns and he was ready.”
Relatives who live in the area told police they were concerned about the safety of Sesler’s immediate family, Williams said. Whether Sesler was being treated for any mental health problems was unclear. However, Williams said he appeared delusional. Over the last 4½ years, Sesler developed an online following as “Mr. Anime” – an alter ego who was the star and producer of hundreds of videos offering Japanese animation reviews. His YouTube channel, Lens Cap Productions, also features several amateur short films, some of which included his brother as an actor.