DENVER - Federal prosecutors said a Colorado Springs man was arrested Monday after he posted online threats advocating the killing of police officers and retired police officers in Colorado.
Jeremiah M. Perez, 33, made his initial appearance before a judge Tuesday, where he was advised of his rights, as well as the charges pending against him, according to U.S. Department of Justice spokesman Jeff Dorschner.
Perez is being held pending a detention hearing and preliminary hearing scheduled for Monday.
Dorschner said Google urgently contacted the FBI San Francisco Office on Dec. 17 to report what they perceived as a threat, which consisted of a comment posted on a YouTube video.
The FBI San Francisco Office immediately initiated an investigation into the threat, posted by user name "Vets Hunting Cops," which they said was focused on killing police officers. They ultimately concluded that the posting came from an IP address in Colorado.
Dorschner said the FBI in Colorado was notified and continued the investigation, which revealed that the IP address was assigned to Century Link and resolved at a specific address in Colorado Springs. The FBI and Colorado Springs Police Department then began surveillance of those who lived at that address.
The following day the FBI and Colorado Springs police served a federal search warrant on Perez's address.
Dorschner said the threat Perez allegedly posted stated, in part:
"SINCE DARREN WILSON our group has killed 6 retired sheriffs and cops......because of this event we will hunt two more in colorado this week.....for every innocent citizen that cops kill WE, VETERANS WILL KILL RETIRED HELPLESS COPS." The threat further said, "COPS ARE THE REAL ENEMIES OF FREEDOM LOVING AMERICANS and TIME TO STRIKE BACK IN ALL OUT WAR IS NOW."
On Dec. 22, the FBI contacted Perez. Agents learned that Perez, a military veteran, knew law enforcement officers would see the post and he intended for them to be fearful after reading it.
He was subsequently arrested.
A forensic examination of Perez's computer confirmed that the posting in question, along with other postings, came from his device, according to authorities.
"If you threaten to kill -- or incite others to kill -- police officers, you will get some very serious attention from this office, the FBI, and other appropriate authorities," said U.S. Attorney John Walsh.
"Those who threaten the lives of law enforcement officers through interstate communications will be fully investigated by the FBI and our partners," said FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge Thomas Ravenelle. "The perceived anonymity of the Internet will not serve as a shield for espousing violence in violation of federal law. In conducting this investigation, we would like to thank the Colorado Springs Police Department and the U.S. Attorney's Office for their invaluable assistance."
Prosecutors said if convicted, Perez faces up to 5 years in federal prison, and not more than a $250,000 fine, for transmitting a threat in interstate and foreign commerce.