Capitol Police and FBI agents arrested a Tennessee man Friday for threatening to kill Sen. Mazie K. Hirono and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, both Hawaii Democrats.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for Middle District of Tennessee announced that Keahiokahouna Stewart, 36, of Murfreesboro, was taken into custody and charged with "threatening to murder a United States official and transmitting in interstate commerce, a communication containing a threat."
Stewart began reaching out to Gabbard's and Hirono's offices in November 2013. He "falsely believed" that while he was stationed in Korea in 2002, his Social Security number was also issued to another soldier, according to press release about his arrest. Stewart demanded full disability benefits and $50 billion from the Social Security Administration.
According to the affidavit from Capitol Police, a Hirono staffer contacted Capitol Police after Stewart visited the office on May 29, 2015. He allegedly said that he did not care that office policy wouldn't allow him to leave bags behind in the office, at which point he walked out.
Stewart initially said during an interview with Capitol Police after that incident that he would shoot a senator. But he dialed back the threat to say he would go to the news media.
Stewart began posting threatening videos online in August 2016. On Aug. 19, he sent an email saying that he was going to fly from Nashville to Honolulu on Nov. 1, and shoot people at a federal building. According to the press release, Hirono and Gabbard were his specific targets.
Stewart could face a maximum of 10 years in prison for the first charge of threatening to kill a government official, and up to five years for communicating a threat over interstate commerce.
Niels Lesniewski contributed.
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