On Wednesday, The Daily Beast reported that a disgruntled Veterans Affairs pharmacist from Washington State has pleaded guilty after threatening a mass killing of his bosses and their families.
"On Tuesday, Matthew Ruhmann Slater, 41, pleaded guilty to one count of making interstate threats, according to a plea agreement filed in Seattle federal court," reported Justin Rohrlich. "In doing so, Slater admitted to a slew of disturbing allegations, including building an AR-15 from parts he ordered through the mail and terrifying his targets by posting pictures online of notorious Wisconsin cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer under the words 'REVENGE,' along with photos of mass shooter Seung-Hui Cho, who gunned down 32 people at Virginia Tech University in 2007."
"In court filings, Slater said he had been reeling from his father’s death from cancer in June 2019 and started drinking to self-medicate," said the report. "That fall, Slater was busted for DUI twice in two days, ejecting from his car at 60 mph in one incident, adding to the chronic neck pain he already suffered from a lifelong TMJ disorder. A demotion at work for poor performance, then the suspension for the DUIs, were too much to bear for Slater, who court records say has also suffered from anxiety, OCD, and bulimia, and his 'scary behavior' began in response to this combination of setbacks, according to a letter Slater’s mother sent to the judge in his case."
According to the report, Slater's rhetoric to his friends became more and more violent, including statements such as, "I have nothing to lose. I want coworkers to think I’m gonna shoot the place up. I don’t f**king care," and "I won’t shoot you or any of the normal staff. Don’t worry you are safe, it’s the higher up management who should be concerned and looking over their shoulder’s [sic]... AR-15 is not made for hunting deer, rather for hunting humans."
His threats escalated further in texts to his mother, according to court filings.
"'I want all federal agents or probation officers watching this message,' one text read. 'You completely ruined my life… Yes. I am referring to you [Victim 1], [Victim 2], and [Victim 3]...I am going to kill you and your family (and if I didn’t already know they existed I will run an internet search and make sure they are dead too),'" said the report. "'REVENGE . . . . I am going to mutilate all of their pets and put them in a jar of formaldehyde and send it to [Victim 2]’s son on [sic] 10th grade in junior high,' said another."
In the past year, authorities have stopped a number of disturbing plots for mass casualty events, including a man who threatened to bring "firepower" to the NYC Pride parade that would dwarf the 2016 Pulse Nightclub massacre. In Michigan, meanwhile, the Oxford High shooting triggered a wave of mass school closures in response to copycat threats.