Tenn. man arrested for threatening to shoot and kill Hawaii lawmakers
A Tennessee man was arrested on Friday on suspicion of threatening to kill two U.S. lawmakers from Hawaii and others during a planned November shooting spree at a federal building in Honolulu, prosecutors said.
Keahiokahouna Stewart, 36, said in a rambling and hostile e-mail to U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono that he planned to fly from Nashville to Honolulu in November and kill people at a federal building, according to a criminal complaint filed on Thursday in U.S. District Court in Tennessee.
Senator Hirono and U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard, who represents Hawaii’s 2nd District, have offices in the federal building and were the targets of his threats, Lawrence Anyaso, a Special Agent with the U.S. Capitol Police, said in an affidavit attached to the criminal complaint.
“Stewart has made threats to members of Congress and has threatened to attack those persons through the use of a firearm or firearms, Anyaso said.
A representative for Hirono declined to comment. A representative for Gabbard said her office was preparing a statement.
An attorney for Stewart could not immediately be identified and reached for comment. A federal public defenders office in Tennessee that would likely be handling his case did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Stewart has been charged with threatening to assault or murder a member of Congress and with transmitting in interstate commerce a communication containing a threat to injure the person or another, prosecutors said.
Federal prosecutors say Stewart’s threats followed a series of “grievances” he wrote to various U.S. officials and agencies beginning in Nov 2013 about his social security number and requests for disability pay.
He claimed that his social security number had also been issued to a fellow soldier with whom he was stationed in Korea in 2002, prosecutors said, adding that the claims were false.
Stewart’s attack plans appeared to stem from his displeasure at the responses he received from officials.
Federal Bureau of Investigation agents and U.S. Capitol Police arrested Stewart on Friday morning without incident at his home in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
He was scheduled for an initial appearance later on Friday before a U.S. magistrate judge in Nashville.
If convicted of each charge, Stewart faces as much as 15 years in prison.
(Reporting by Tim Ghianni in Nashville, Tennessee; Additional reporting and writing by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Andrew Hay)