FBI: Sebewaing man arrested for threatening to kill government officials
SEBEWAING, Mich. (WNEM) - A Sebewaing man has been arrested after the FBI said he made online threats to kill law enforcement, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, and members of the LGBTQ community.
A criminal complaint was filed against 30-year-old Randall Robert Berka II, of Sebewaing, by FBI Special Agent Adam Ayriss, who is assigned to the FBI Detroit Flint Resident Agency.
On March 7, FBI Detroit opened an investigation into an unknown person making threatening comments on YouTube after Google submitted an online tip to the FBI National Threat Operations Section, the complaint said.
On March 7, the account was observed with a display name of “kill all federal agents on sight and hang biden,” and a handle URL of “@killthefeds420.”
After an investigation into the account, the FBI was able to find the residence attributed to the account, the complaint said, adding investigators identified Berka II was residing there with his parents.
After a criminal history check, it was determined Berka was involuntarily committed for mental health treatment in 2012, the complaint said, adding the state of Michigan determined Berka to be legally incapacitated and appointed Randall Robert Berka Sr. as Berka II’s legal guardian in 2013.
Due to his mental health status, Berka II is prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition.
Even though Berka II is not allowed to own firearms, his mother purchased four firearms for him, according to the complaint. The complaint also said Berka II had ammunition for his firearms and has gone to shoot them.
In an interview with Berka II’s mother, she stated she is scared of Berka II, the complaint said, adding she does not think the mental health treatment is working, and believes he should be arrested and put in prison. She also added he uses marijuana daily.
Based on the investigation, there is probable cause to believe that on or before Feb. 18 and continuing until at least March 9, Berka II was unlawfully in possession of a firearm, and an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance, the complaint said.
Berka II was arrested on March 9 and arraigned in federal court on March 10.
The DOJ says the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan planned to ask the court to hold Berka II in pretrial detention because of his danger to the community and the risk that he will flee.
He was temporarily detained and has a detention hearing scheduled for Wednesday, March 15.
Berka II faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.
“We will take immediate action when we learn of individuals illegally possessing firearms and threatening to harm or kill others,” U.S. Attorney Ison said. “I applaud Google’s vigilance in this matter, and we hope members of the community will, likewise, pay attention and report such conduct to law enforcement.”
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