A situation that could have become a terrible tragedy was averted by Secret Service agents and law enforcement on Monday.
According to Fox News, Michael Arega of Dallas, Texas was arrested near the White House related to threats he allegedly made on Facebook. Arega was believed to be in Washington DC to “kill all white police.”
The Secret Service Protective Intelligence Division received news of the threat from the Montgomery County, Maryland, Police Department around 3 PM Monday.
According to The Daily Mail, law enforcement was made aware of Arega’s threats by his ex-wife. Police searched for Arega at the Days Inn hotel in Silver Spring, Maryland, where he was reported to have been staying, but were unable to find him.
Meanwhile, the Secret Service increased security at the White House and issued their own manhunt for Arega. He was found unarmed by Secret Service north of Pennsylvania Avenue near Lafayette Park. Arega was taken to the Metropolitan Police Department where he was charged with making felony threats.
It’s unclear how his ex-wife became aware of Arega’s threats, but it’s possible she may have discovered them on Facebook. Arega’s Facebook page showed that he was “checked in” at the White House and there were a number of disturbing threats.
One such post read, “Now I am going to there to white House to make sure kill All white POLICE!!” Another read “I remove the power of darknes [sic] from USA in the powerful name of Jesus Christ !!,” and yet another post reading “Put Him on Jail Donald J Trump in Maighty Name of JESUS CHRRIST [sic]!!”
One post had a link to an article titled “Trump: Fortunately, Somebody Else Had A Gun…” by The Daily Wire. The article reported on President Trump’s reaction to the Texas shooting where he expressed gratitude that the gunman was confronted by a gun owner.
Arega responded to the article and the link saying “Kill Him in JESUS NAME!!”
It’s wasn’t reported what exactly Arega intended to do or how he planned to do it, but these posts clearly indicate that he was upset by something and disturbed enough to want to act on it.
These threats come on the heels of another threat made by Erin Pettaway on Friday, according to Fox 29. Pettaway approached a Secret Service officer north of Pennsylvania Avenue near Lafayette Park and informed him he had planted explosives near the White House.
Pettaway was immediately arrested and law enforcement swiftly evacuated the area. After a thorough search, it was determined there were no explosives. Pettaway was also charged with making a felony threat. Again, as in Arega’s case, it’s not clear what Pettaway’s motivation was for making the threat.
Michael Arega was allegedly planning to kill all white police officers. Do you support all police officers?
These two individuals hold such an immense hatred for President Trump that they were willing to issue death threats that resulted in felony charges, actions that endangered their own lives. Though everyone is free to express their frustration and hold political opinions, announcing an intent to “kill all white police” or to bomb the White House is not appropriate–or legal–to issue those threats.
Whatever their frustrations or irritations, it’s clear that there is a dangerous subculture in the movement to resist President Trump. This subculture’s efforts may one day lead to more than empty threats.