Disturbing Trend of Hate Crimes Unveiled as FBI Charges 27 Defendants for Threats of Violence

U.S. Attorney-Middle District of Florida Roger Handberg addressed a series of threat investigations that have unfolded over the past year and a half. The FBI Tampa has taken swift action, federally charging 27 defendants for their involvement in threats of mass shootings, rape, murder, genocide, and other violent acts.

Handberg revealed that the charged individuals, nine of whom were charged in 2022, 15 in 2023, and three in 2024, had targeted a wide range of victims. Their threats encompassed harm or death towards acquaintances, strangers, families, and even innocent children. Among the targeted victims were elected officials, judges, and other public figures.

Fuelled by hatred based on religion, race, and sexual orientation, these criminals employed various means to intimidate their victims. Threats were delivered through mail, in-person encounters, and over the phone. Handberg emphasized the disturbing trend of hate crimes and issued a stern warning, stating, “If you threaten somebody with violence, law enforcement will take you at your word.”

The consequences for committing crimes based on hate are severe, as Handberg assured the public that law enforcement officers and federal prosecutors would act swiftly to disrupt true threats and hate-based crimes. The charged individuals would face federal court prosecution.

Illustrating the gravity of these cases, Handberg shared two chilling incidents. On September 10, 2022, a man pointed a shotgun at a Black woman while she was at work, but she managed to escape unharmed. A few days later, the same man approached another Black woman, spewing racial slurs before firing a shotgun at her, fortunately missing his target. This individual has since pleaded guilty to two federal hate crimes and awaits sentencing.

Another incident occurred on November 20, 2023, when a man posted a video on social media threatening a mass shooting on a New York subway. The video showcased two firearms he intended to use. Within a mere two days of the video’s posting, federal authorities arrested him. He has been indicted and is currently in federal custody, awaiting trial.

Similarly, on December 29, 2023, a different man made multiple online posts threatening a mass shooting, providing explicit details about the ammunition he planned to use. Within a week, law enforcement executed a search warrant, leading to his federal arrest. He, too, has been indicted and is currently in federal custody, awaiting trial.

Handberg concluded his address by urging the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activities. He emphasized that law enforcement would take immediate action, stating, “If you see something, say something because we will do something.”

The revelations of these hate crimes and the swift response from law enforcement have shed light on a deeply concerning trend. As the investigations continue, the FBI Tampa and U.S. Attorney-Middle District of Florida remain committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of all citizens, while holding those responsible for such heinous acts accountable for their actions.


Author: CrimeDoor

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