NATIONAL NEWS

Michigan man accused of planning to target synagogue is charged with threats

Jun 28, 2023, 11:56 AM

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A grand jury has indicted a 19-year-old Michigan man accused of making threats over social media and having loose plans to target a synagogue near Lansing, the state capital.

Seann Pietila, of Pickford in the state’s Upper Peninsula, has been in custody since June 16. An indictment charging him with making threats, including a threat to kill by fire, was filed Tuesday in federal court in Grand Rapids.

“No one should face violent threats because of their race, ethnicity, religion or any other status,” said U.S. Attorney Mark Totten.

A message seeking comment was left for Pietila’s attorney.

When Pietila was arrested, investigators said, he had the name of the Shaarey Zedek congregation in East Lansing on his phone along with a 2024 date. He wrote to another Instagram user that he would “inspire others to take arms against the Jewish controlled state.”

During a search of his home, agents said, they found a cache of weapons, knives, tactical equipment, and a red-and-white Nazi flag.

Agents said he made apparent references to the New Zealand shooter who is serving life in prison for killing 51 people and injuring 40 others in the 2019 Christchurch mosque attacks.

Pietila was arrested the same day a truck driver was convicted of storming Tree of Life, a Pittsburgh synagogue, in 2018 and killing 11 congregants in an act of antisemitic terror.

National News

Associated Press

Winston, beloved gorilla at San Diego Zoo Safari Park, dies at 52 after suffering health problems

ESCONDIDO, Calif. (AP) — Winston, a western lowland gorilla who was a favorite attraction at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, has died at the age of 52 after suffering multiple health problems, officials said. The park said Winston was euthanized Saturday after veterinarians determined his condition was declining. “After careful consideration stemming from furthering […]

3 minutes ago

Photo: Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump is surrounded by U.S. Secret...

Julie Carr Smyth, Jill Colvin, Colleen Long, Michael Balsamo, Eric Tucker and Michelle L. Price, The Associated Press

Trump heads to convention as authorities investigate motive, security in assassination attempt

Trump called for unity and resilience after an attempt on his life added fresh uncertainty to an already tumultuous presidential campaign.

22 minutes ago

Photo: President Joe Biden speaks from the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Sunday,...

Will Weissert and Zeke Miller, The Associated Press

In primetime address, Biden says country must not go down road of political violence

President Joe Biden says “we can’t, we must not go down” the road of political violence in America after the attempted Trump assassination.

51 minutes ago

Gov. Greg Abbott receives a briefing for Hurricane Beryl from local elected officials Sunday, July ...

Associated Press

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott demands answers as customers remain without power after Beryl

DALLAS (AP) — With around 350,000 homes and businesses still without power in the Houston area almost a week after Hurricane Beryl hit Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott on Sunday said he’s demanding an investigation into the response of the utility that serves the area as well as answers about its preparations for upcoming storms. “Power […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Acclaimed video artist Bill Viola dies at 73, created landmark `Tristan und Isolde’ production

LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Bill Viola, a video artist who combined with director Peter Sellars on a groundbreaking production of Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde” originally seen in Los Angeles, Paris and New York, has died at age 73. Viola died Friday at his home in Long Beach of Alzheimer’s disease, his website announced. What […]

5 hours ago

President Joe Biden arrives on Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Saturday, July 13, 202...

Associated Press

Biden tries to balance his condemnation of the attack on Trump with the ongoing 2024 campaign

WASHINGTON (AP) — Homeland security and law enforcement officials were briefing President Joe Biden on Sunday about the apparent assassination attempt on his predecessor, Donald Trump, as the White House continued to call for national unity and condemn the stunning act of violence. Vice President Kamala Harris was joining Biden for an update from top […]

10 hours ago

Michigan man accused of planning to target synagogue is charged with threats