Arvada man threatens to grant Colorado senator, her family 'a bullet straight to the head'

Posted at 6:24 PM, Sep 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-19 20:31:42-04

ARVADA, Colo. -- A 21-year-old Arvada man accused of making an online threat to a state lawmaker made his first appearance in court on Monday.

State Sen. Laura Woods, R-Arvada, received two threatening Facebook messages on Saturday morning. She reported the messages to Arvada Police and the Colorado State Patrol, which provides protection for state lawmakers.

Denver7 broke the story through a push alert on Sunday evening.

21-year-old Dylan Hopkins was arrested Saturday evening on a charge of "Harassment - Telephone Computer Text IM."

"We got, also, the State Patrol involved. They are protection at the Capitol, they need to be alerted to this kind of things," said Woods. "By, five o'clock, I believe, (police) had the suspect arrested and in jail."

Woods told Denver7 that she received one message in response to a Facebook campaign ad, and then the following message was sent to her Facebook campaign account:

"I was in my town hall meeting yesterday morning and was listening to other presenters and opened that message up to find that message," Woods told Denver7 political reporter Marshall Zelinger. "It was a threat to shoot myself [sic], my family in the face."

"Have you received anything of this sort before in your political career?" asked Zelinger.

"Never. Never," said Woods. "I live with two of my grandchildren, my daughter-in-law, my husband, my son. Can you imagine the terror that that caused in my heart?"

Hopkins appeared in court Jefferson County court on Monday via a video feed. The judge ordered a $1,000 personal recognizance bond, which must be co-signed by his parents. A personal recognizance bond means he is free to leave jail, but if he misses his next court date, a warrant will be issued for his arrest and he'll have to post $1,000 bond.

A mandatory protection order is in place and Hopkins cannot communicate with Woods.

(PHOTO: Mugshot of Dylan Hopkins)

"Were you told he had the capability of following through at all? Did he have any weapons at his house, were you told?" asked Zelinger.

"I wasn't told, I don't know," said Woods.

"Does that matter?" asked Zelinger.

"It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter," said Woods. "Terrified me to think of one of the elementary or middle school kids that comes with their parent to help us knock on doors, showing up at the wrong door. No, it doesn't matter whether he could follow through on it or not. The fear was there."

Hopkins rejected a request to be interviewed from the Jefferson County Jail. His parents did not want to comment when contacted by Denver7.

"We don't excuse online bullying in any form. And the reason that he's in jail is because this behavior is not lawful," said Woods. "It crossed the line of just political rhetoric, it was a threat."

The Secret Service may also be investigating another post on a second Facebook page that also appears to belong to Hopkins. A post on that Facebook page shared a video about Donald Trump, but the person whose page it is captioned the video with "Let's take away Donald Trump's Secret Service detail and see what happens to him! #ShootTrump #DragHim #DisqualifyTrump."

The Secret Service said it takes all threats seriously and investigates all threats made to those it protects.

Woods was elected to represent District 19 in November 2014. She is facing a rematch with Democratic challenger Rachel Zenzinger. Zenzinger previously held the seat when she was appointed after then-State Sen. Evie Hudak resigned while facing a recall effort.

Woods defeated Zenzinger by 663 votes in 2014.


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