Thursday, February 28, 2013

Security: Man charged with posting death threats online against President Obama

U.S. Attorney’s Office 
Northern District of Georgia  

ATLANTA—Patrick Randell McIntosh, 28, of Charleston, South Carolina, was arraigned today before United States Judge Linda T. Walker, on charges of possessing three firearms and ammunition while under indictment for a felony and for threatening the life of the president of the United States on Facebook.

“McIntosh is charged with making violent and disturbing threats online and via e-mail to several people, including a threat to the life of the president of the United States,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. “Many state, local, and federal law enforcement agencies have worked together to bring this potentially dangerous man into custody to protect the citizens of the United States.”

According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges, and other information presented in court, McIntosh posted on his Facebook page his intention to shoot patrons at a local Atlanta lounge and to kill the president of the United States. After posting the various threats, the defendant purchased three firearms from individuals who advertised weapons for sale.

McIntosh also threatened a woman in the Atlanta area. The woman reported to Gwinnett County authorities that McIntosh was stalking her. She gave police the location of a hotel where McIntosh was staying. Law enforcement officers subsequently arrested McIntosh at the location and recovered guns and ammunition in his possession.

“With the increased use of the various forms of social media comes increased online threats that vary in nature,” said Mark F. Giuliano, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office. “The FBI, as well as law enforcement as a whole, takes such online based threats seriously and they can easily evolve into federal criminal charges for those individuals making them.”

“Threats against the president of the United States and others we are statutorily authorized to protect are the Secret Service’s number one investigative priority. Every threat, no matter if made by telephone, in person, in writing, or on social media is examined to the fullest extent possible. Working with our partners in law enforcement and the U.S. Attorney’s Office we will continually seek to bring those who make threats to justice,” said Reginald G. Moore, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Secret Service, Atlanta Field Office.

“I’m proud of the Atlanta Police Department’s active participation in the investigation that led to the removal of this dangerous individual off of the streets,” said Atlanta Police Chief George N. Turner. “This arrest and indictment underscore the importance of solid relationships with our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners. We’re all safer today as a result of this cooperation.”

McIntosh was indicted by a federal grand jury in Atlanta on January 15, 2013, and charged with illegally possessing three firearms and a large amount of ammunition while under indictment for a felony offense and for threatening the president. He had been released on state bond after being indicted in the state of South Carolina for felony stalking.

McIntosh faces a maximum possible sentence of five years in prison on the firearms charge and 10 years in prison on the threat charge. McIntosh could be also be fined up to $250,000 on each charge. In determining the actual sentence, the court will consider the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which are not binding on the court but provide appropriate sentencing ranges for most offenders.

Members of the public are reminded that the indictment only contains charges. The defendant is presumed innocent of the charges, and it will be the government’s burden to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

This case is being investigated by the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), which includes agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Secret Service, and the Federal Air Marshal Service. The threat was initially investigated by detectives of the Atlanta Police Department and subsequently referred to the JTTF.

Assistant United States Attorney Katherine M. Hoffer is prosecuting the case.