FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden eats a cherry as he tours King Orchards with Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer in Central Lake, Michigan, U.S., July 3, 2021. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
By Kanishka Singh
(Reuters) – A Michigan man was arrested and charged with illegal ownership of firearms after he made death threats against Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and President Joe Biden, the U.S. Justice Department said on Friday.
Federal agents, after receiving an online tip this week from YouTube owner Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL), uncovered threats posted on YouTube, which also included threats to members of the LGBTQ community and FBI agents, according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.
An investigation led to Randall Robert Berka II, who lives in Sebewaing, Michigan, and was illegally in the possession of firearms after having been committed to a mental institution and while a daily user of marijuana, the Justice Department said. Berka, 30, illegally possessed four firearms, three long guns and a pistol, the Justice Department said.
Berka faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.
The Justice Department said that among statements Berka posted were: “im going to kill these democrats biden deserves to die” and “im gonna kill lgbt freaks.”
At his initial court appearance on Friday, a federal judge ordered Berka to be detained pending another hearing on March 15, CNN reported.
Whitmer has been threatened previously, including a plot to kidnap her in 2020. Late last year, a right-wing militia member was sentenced to over 19 years in prison and another ringleader sentenced to 16 years over the foiled plot.