Online threats of violence made against federal law enforcement officers, advocating for mass shootings, 25 guns and 10,000 rounds of ammunition found in a search of property all lead to the arrest of a young Ohio man.
BOARDMAN, Oh. – News outlets reported that on Wednesday August 7, Justin Olsen, 18, of Boardman, Ohio was taken into custody at the home he shares with his father. Boardman had been under an investigation since the beginning of February, but Cleveland.com explained the prosecutor in Boardman’s case decided to act on arresting Olsen due to the mass shootings that had taken place in recent weeks.
An FBI affidavit from the case states that Olsen used the online screen name of “ArmyOfChrist” on a website called iFunny where “he told fellow users that he supported mass shootings and attacks on Planned Parenthood,” amongst other postings that called for acts of violence against others.
FBI agent Themistocles Tsarnas explained in the written affidavit that a formal investigation into the online postings under the “ArmyOfChrist” screen name started in February by FBI agents in Alaska. They began to follow the account very closely, monitoring the postings by the user who frequently referenced violent attacks or mass killings.
The affidavit shows that by March, the user had close to 4,400 followers on the account. Tsarnas also went on to state that in the past month there had been an uptick in the amount of followers the account had.
Cleveland.com reports that Olsen referenced incidents like the 1995 Oklahoma City Bombing, where Timothy McVeigh used a vehicle packed with explosives to blow up a federal office building in Oklahoma City. The bombing resulted in the death of 168 individuals, 19 of them children.
“In conclusion, shoot every federal agent in sight,” Olsen told his followers.
It is also reported that Olsen posted on the iFunny website about the 51-day standoff incident with the Branch Davidians that took place in Waco, Texas in 1993. The standoff resulted in 75 people being killed, including 25 children and 4 federal agents.
Tsarnas goes on to write in the affidavit that Olsen claimed he was “only joking” about his encouragement of violence, but admitted to posting the comments on the iFunny website. The affidavit stated that Olsen said, “the comments regarding shooting federal agents were ‘a hyperbolic conclusion based on the results of the Waco siege … where the ATF slaughtered families’…”
Sources say that when Olsen was taken into custody on August 7, the following items were found in his home and vehicle: 25 guns, including an AR-15 type rifle, approximately 10, 000 rounds of ammunition, camouflage clothing and a large machete. WKBN news reported that, “Officers [also] took all computers, cell phones, guns and any hate-related literature they found.”
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Along with the threatening and aggressive postings that were made, The New York Post reported that Olsen also wrote that he had “been accepted into a Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program in Alabama and planned to move to Austin after being accepted at the University of Texas.”
Court documents show that Olsen was charged on Monday with threatening to assault a federal law enforcement officer. News outlets report that Olsen’s attorney has not responded to any requests for comments.
“Olsen used the handle “ArmyOfChrist” as his moniker on iFunny… he told fellow users that he supported mass shootings and attacks on Planned Parenthood… The threats included a June 2 discussion about the Branch Dividians in Waco, Texas.” HT: @jason_a_whttps://t.co/U5tYiIuPzd
— André Gagné (@profagagne) August 13, 2019
In recent weeks there has been an increase in vigilance and greater awareness in regards to reporting threats made against communities of people or locations, thwarting attempts of potential mass shooters and training at public locations where large amount of people may congregate.
In Springfield Missouri, KTLA news reported that on Thursday August 8, a man who was carrying a rifle, a second gun, wearing a bullet proof vest and holding over 100 rounds of ammunition walked into a Walmart store in Springfield Missouri. News outlets reported that an off duty firefighter thwarted the would-be assailant’s actions by holding him at gunpoint until police arrived.
On Friday August 9th, the Hartford Courant reported that an Orange, Connecticut resident was arrested after he made threatening Facebook posts calling for gun violence against those attending the annual New Haven Puerto Rican Festival. Police Chief Otoniel Reyes explained to reporters, “The message we want to send here, among the many messages, is that whenever anyone threatens the safety of anyone, that’s something of high priority to us.”
Court documents say Justin Olsen also wrote that he supported mass shootings and attacks on Planned Parenthood.https://t.co/b91FVc0uH9
— FOX5 Las Vegas (@FOX5Vegas) August 13, 2019
All of these incidents come quickly on the heels of two mass shootings that took place within just hours of each other. In El Paso, Texas, 22 individuals were shot and killed while shopping in a Walmart, and in Dayton, Ohio, 9 individuals were gunned down outside a night club.
ABC News reported that “the latest instances of deadly mass shootings in 2019, [brings] the total number of such incidents up to at least 17 — an average of one every 12.7 days this year.” While the FBI does not have a specific definition for a mass shooting, ABC News also explained that they define “a mass killing as an incident in which three or more people, not including the suspect, are killed.”
Sources say with no formal definition of a mass shooting, there are other organizations that track reports of shootings to classify them as in this manner-thus resulting in the current number of ‘mass shootings’ for this year.
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