Ross Farca, the 23-year-old Concord man who allegedly threatened a mass shooting against Jews on a gaming website, appeared in Contra Costa Superior Court on Thursday morning for a scheduling hearing. It was his first court appearance since July 30.
The purpose of the hearing, before Judge David Goldstein, was to set a date for a preliminary hearing — similar to a grand jury proceeding — when a judge will determine if there is enough evidence to proceed to trial. The preliminary hearing was set for Nov. 14 before Superior Court Judge Theresa Canepa.
Farca appeared wearing a purple tie and sneakers alongside his attorney Joseph Tully. Tully said in a June interview with J. that his client is autistic and did not mean for his comments to be taken seriously.
“He’s an autistic young man who didn’t understand the ramifications of his statement,” Tully said. “You and I understand that you should not say those things. He had no understanding of that.”
At the Thursday hearing, Tully requested that medical records from Kaiser Permanente be entered into evidence.
Farca is facing three felony charges, including two weapons charges and one for making criminal threats. He was arrested by Concord police on June 10 following an anonymous online tip to the FBI, police said.
Screenshots from the website Steam — a networking site for video game enthusiasts — show an account that used the handle “Adolf Hitler (((6 million)))” boasting about a potential Poway-style shooting, but while “wearing a Nazi uniform.” The account, which police say is linked to Farca, also used the handle “Brenton Tarrent” (sic), a reference to the New Zealand mosque shooter, and threatened to “livestream” an assault “but with Nazi music.”
“Wanna see a mas shooting with a body count of over 30-subhumans?” the post read.
Concord police searched a law enforcement database, Detective Greg Mahan wrote in a court filing, and found Farca had purchased an “AR-style” rifle from Glaser Arms in Brentwood on Feb. 16. A search of Farca’s home at the time of his arrest turned up a rifle that he had modified into an assault weapon, over a dozen high-capacity magazines and “Nazi literature,” according to court filings and a photograph published by police.
Farca posted bail on June 14 and remains out of custody. He is subject to search and seizure by law enforcement “any time, day or night,” Scott Alonso, a spokesperson for the Contra Costa district attorney’s office, said in an interview. He is also prohibited from handling firearms per a gun violence restraining order brought by the city of Concord.
One of the charges Farca faces is for assembling an assault weapon. An individual convicted of manufacturing an assault weapon in California faces up to eight years in prison.
Deputy District Attorney Whitnee Goins is the lead prosecutor. Gerald Gerash, a concerned Jewish community member and attorney who has been following the case closely, said he spoke with Goins and that she was “disgusted” when she learned the details of the case and was eager to prosecute it.
“I find her of high character,” Gerash said.
Farca’s appearance came six days after a judge in San Diego approved murder and attempted murder charges in a preliminary hearing for John T. Earnest, the 20-year-old accused in the Chabad of Poway attack in April that killed one and injured three. Earnest allegedly posted an anti-Semitic manifesto on the online message board 8chan shortly before the attack.