Colorado Springs Man Arrested After Posting Internet Threat to Kill Police Officers in Colorado
DENVER—Jeremiah M. Perez, age 33, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, was arrested yesterday without incident for posting online threats advocating the killing of police officers and retired police officers in Colorado, United States Attorney John Walsh and FBI Denver Division Special Agent in Charge Thomas Ravenelle announced. Perez made his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kristen L. Mix this afternoon, where he was advised of his rights, as well as the charges pending against him. Perez will be held in custody pending a detention hearing and preliminary hearing scheduled for Monday, December 29, 2014 at 1:30 p.m.
On December 17, 2014, Google urgently contacted the FBI San Francisco Office to report what they perceived as a threat, which consisted of a comment posted in association with a YouTube video. The FBI San Francisco Office immediately initiated an investigation into the threat, posted by user name “Vets Hunting Cops,” which was focused on killing police officers, and ultimately learned that the posting came from an IP address in Colorado. The FBI in Colorado was notified and continued the investigation, which revealed that the IP address was assigned to Century Link and resolved at a specific address in Colorado Springs. The FBI and Colorado Springs Police Department then began surveillance of those who lived at that address.
The following day the FBI and Colorado Springs Police Department served a federal search warrant on Perez’s address. The threat Perez allegedly posted stated, in part: “SINCE DARREN WILSON our group has killed 6 retired sheriffs and cops......because of this event we will hunt two more in colorado this week.....for every innocent citizen that cops kill WE, VETERANS WILL KILL RETIRED HELPLESS COPS.” The threat further said, “COPS ARE THE REAL ENEMIES OF FREEDOM LOVING AMERICANS and TIME TO STRIKE BACK IN ALL OUT WAR IS NOW.”
On December 22, 2014, the FBI contacted Perez. At that time they determined that he knew that law enforcement officers would see the post and his intent was for them to be fearful after reading it. He was then arrested. A forensic examination of Perez’s computer confirmed that the posting in question, along with other postings, came from his device.
“If you threaten to kill—or incite others to kill—police officers, you will get some very serious attention from this office, the FBI, and other appropriate authorities,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh.
“Those who threaten the lives of law enforcement officers through interstate communications will be fully investigated by the FBI and our partners,” said FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge Thomas Ravenelle. “The perceived anonymity of the Internet will not serve as a shield for espousing violence in violation of federal law. In conducting this investigation, we would like to thank the Colorado Springs Police Department and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their invaluable assistance.”
If convicted, Perez faces up to five years in federal prison, and not more than a $250,000 fine, for transmitting a threat in interstate and foreign commerce.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in Colorado Springs, Denver, and San Francisco, with support from the Colorado Springs Police Department.
A Criminal Complaint is a probable cause charging document. Anyone accused of committing a federal felony offense has a Constitutional right to be indicted by a federal grand jury.
The charges contained in the Complaint are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.