- A Maryland man has been indicted on five counts of sending death threats to US Sens. Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders and lodging a threat against gun-control advocates.
- Nicholas Bukoski, 19, is accused of sending threatening messages to the Instagram accounts of the senators and texting a threat to the Washington, DC, police tip line, all on the day of the “March for Our Lives” rally.
- He is being held in federal custody. A court date has not been set.
A 19-year old Maryland man has been indicted on charges of threatening to murder US Sens. Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders, two high-profile progressive members of Congress, as well as threatening an attack on the “March for Our Lives Rally” in Washington, DC.
A federal grand jury charged Nicholas Bukoski of Anne Arundel County with two counts of sending death threats to the senators and three counts of transmitting these threats across state lines via interstate commerce.
A memorandum released by a federal prosecutor accuses Bukoski of sending the threats to the official Instagram accounts of the senators and texting a menacing message to Washington’s police tip line on March 24. On that day, gun-control rallies were taking place across the country.
Harris and Sanders were not present for the “March for Our Lives” rally in Washington, instead participating in related rallies in their home states. Harris attended a march in Los Angeles, and Sanders joined a rally in Montpelier, Vermont.
“Senator, I would watch your back as you’re out today,” a message sent to Sanders’ Instagram account said, according to the memo. “You wouldn’t want to be caught off guard when I use my second amendment protected firearm to rid the world of you, you stupid, crazy old fool.”
A message to Harris’ Instagram account said, “I am going to make sure you and your radical lefty friends never get back in power you will never run for president, because you won’t make it to see that day.”
A third communication sent by text to the Washington police tip line said in part, “I am intending to send the message that gun control, bomb control, or any other kind of weapons control will not stop attacks, it is an issue of the heart.”
The Washington police department traced the text to Bukoski and took him to a local hospital for an emergency evaluation, upon which he admitted to sending the messages.
In a later search of his laptop, investigators found that he had looked up how to contact the senators and the tip line and had visited the Wikipedia page titled “threatening government officials of the United States.” Bukoski is not believed to have had access to a gun.
Bukoski appeared in the US District Court for the District of Columbia on Wednesday and is being held in federal custody pretrial per request of the federal prosecutor who released the memo with details of the threats. A future court date has not yet been set.