Authorities have arrested a man from Michigan who allegedly made death threats against FBI Director Christopher Wray and Representative John Garamendi (D-Calif.).
According to court records, Neil Matthew Walter was indicted in federal court for allegedly leaving a threatening voicemail at Garamendi’s office earlier this month and posting threatening comments about Wray in an FBI Facebook video days later.
“John. Hi John. You’re going to die, John. You’re going to die,” Walter said in the voicemail left on November 3 at 10:53 PM, according to an affidavit in support of the prosecution.
Voicemail represents the latest threat, which law enforcement officials say is a significant increase in threats against lawmakers. The FBI and other agencies have increasingly warned of a rise in violent extremism focused on political leaders and government institutions.
On election day, a local detective visited Walter’s apartment in Grand Blanc, Mich., for social control when Walter allegedly opened the door with a firearm and initially refused to drop it.
According to court records, Walter scolded the detective about a child slave rape ring, a conspiracy theory he recently advanced in a series of Facebook posts.
The posts say Garamendi, other lawmakers, actor Tom Cruise, and Twitter CEO Elon Musk are involved in the ring and write that it is operated from places like the Capitol Building.
Walter’s mother later told prosecutors that her son had previously been involuntarily admitted to a mental institution and advised that he refuse psychiatric treatment, according to court records.
On Saturday, Walter allegedly left several threatening comments about a Facebook video posted by the FBI in which Wray testified before the Senate Homeland Security Committee on Thursday about threats to national security.
“Director Wray is going to die several times a day every day because he raped my family over and over again and lied to them and me about it. I will kill you, I will kill you, Director Wray, you will die, I will kill you, I will kill you in self-defense,” Walter allegedly wrote in a comment.
Walter will appear in court again next Thursday. No lawyer was listed for Walter in court documents.
“I thank Capitol Police and the FBI for quickly addressing this threat,” Garamendi said in a statement.
Garamendi is one of several lawmakers reporting that they’ve received threatening voicemails to their offices.
The Capitol Police threat assessment team, which handled voicemail to Garamendi and others, opened 9,625 cases in 2021, a sharp increase from 8,613 cases in 2020 and a decline in recent years.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), member of the House Committee on January 6, shared around a dozen vulgar and threatening phone calls to his congressional office in July. Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) said last year he received a voicemail that said, “I hope you die.”
the end of last month, a person attacked the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Paul Pelosi, leaving him with a skull fracture. The assailant was allegedly looking for the speaker when he broke into the couple’s home in San Francisco and threatened to break her kneecaps.