Kansas man charged with making online threats against Nashville Pride festival

Jun 20, 2023, 5:07 PM

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Kansas man is facing federal charges of making threats on social media to build bombs and carry out a mass shooting at a Nashville Pride festival.

According to U.S. Attorney Henry C. Leventis’ office, the indictment unsealed Tuesday against a 25-year-old from Hoisington, Kansas charges him with two counts of transmitting an interstate threat about the Nashville Pride Festival and Parade. The event is scheduled for June 24 to 25.

An indictment says the man on April 26 commented on a sponsored Nashville Pride post on Facebook, threatening to “make shrapnel pressure cooker bombs for this event.”

On the same day, he posted another comment in which he threatened to commit a mass shooting and used a homophobic slur, the indictment said.

FBI agents arrested the man Thursday at his home in Kansas and he appeared before a U.S. magistrate judge. A detention hearing is scheduled for Friday in Kansas.

“We will not tolerate hate-based, threats of violence designed to intimidate Tennesseans,” Leventis, the U.S. attorney, said in a news release. “We will continue to work with our partners at the FBI to ensure that the civil rights of all persons are protected.”

A conviction carries up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine per count.

The event will go on as planned — it will be fenced with controlled access, secured with bag checks at the entrance and bolstered by security workers stationed throughout the festival, Brady Ruffin, Nashville Pride’s media coordinator, told The Tennessean. Event planners are working with city, state and federal entities on safety measures, as well, Ruffin said.

Ruffin said “no credible threat existed or currently exists” to the event.

“We look forward to creating a safe and secure space for the LGBTQ+ community to be authentically and vulnerably themselves this weekend at the Nashville Pride Parade and Festival,” Ruffin told the newspaper.

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Kansas man charged with making online threats against Nashville Pride festival