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"Trenchcoat Mafia" domains snapped up

Hours after a high school shooting left 15 dead near Denver, at least three sites bearing the now-infamous gang name "Trenchcoat Mafia" were registered, according to NSI records.

Just hours after a high school shooting left 15 dead near Denver, at least three sites bearing the now-infamous gang name "Trenchcoat Mafia" were registered, according to records at domain registrar Network Solutions.

The new sites are the latest example of Netizens rushing to register domain names immediately following an event.

"I have registered the domains 'trenchcoatmafia.com' and 'thetrenchcoatmafia.com' to beat anyone who would want to use them for profit or unmoral reasons," reads an unsigned note at both sites. "I knew there would be some bad people out their [sic] that would try and get this domain name and put bad things up on the site."

For two other sites, Trenchcoatmafia.net and Trenchcoatmafia.org, the administrative contact, Jose Troche, confirmed that he had registered the domains but declined to say why. He did say, however, that he is not out to profit from them.

"They're not for sale and never will be for sale," said Troche, a 29-year-old consultant in Norton, Massachusetts.

The Trenchcoat Mafia became a household word overnight on Tuesday, when two of its teenage members went on a shooting and bombing spree at their Littleton, Colorado, high school. The massacre left 15 dead and 28 wounded. Police are investigating whether other group members helped the two transport more than 30 bombs and a large cache of weapons and ammunition.

Trenchcoatmafia.org, Trenchcoatmafia.net, Thetrenchcoatmafia.com, and Trenchcoatmafia.com were registered on Tuesday, according to Network Solutions' Whois database. As word of the registrations spread, so did outrage among some Net users.

"I've gotten at least 55 hate mails," said Troche, referring to the sites he registered. "A lot of people emailing me are saying: 'You're trying to capitalize on something horrible that has happened in Colorado. I don't understand how someone such as you can be walking around the world.'"

NSI spokesman Brian O'Shaughnessy said the registrations do not violate company policy. "We don't get in the business of censoring domain names," he said. The only names NSI refuses to register, he added, are the so-called seven dirty words that are not allowed on public broadcasts.

Those listed as administrative contacts for the Trenchcoatmafia.com site were not available for comment.

Another site also has cropped up, but this one makes light of the shooting. Trenchcoat.org, which a Network Solutions spokesman said was created yesterday, proclaims itself as the "supercenter for trenchcoat-wearing tactical urban assault enthusiasts." The site is laced with racist and violent statements and pictures.

It was not immediately known who owns the site. Network Solutions' Whois database, which is updated every 24 hours, did not yet show information about the site.

The killings even have caused Web sites with no connection to receive a lot of attention, as the Webmaster at Trenchcoat.com has found out.

"Apparently some news or show has reported that this site use to be the site associated with the shooting," said a note posted on the site. "It is not and never has been."