A Tennessee man was arrested yesterday for allegedly threatening a mass shooting at ain Washington, D.C. The suspect is the third person to be charged for threatening violence against the abortion provider this month alone.
Authorities say that on August 13, Jacob Cooper, 20, used the website iFunny to post a message that said, "Make sure you tell them about how I plan to shoot up a planned parenthood facility in Washington D.C., on August 19th at 3pm."
Cooper allegedly posted a second comment on the website reading, "If you are a member of the FBI, CIA, whatever, and are on my profile I will trace your IP address and kill you if the opportunity arises. And I am dead serious about this. I'll do it with ricin, a bomb, or .308. Whatever it takes, then end result will be the same. I am serious about this. If I am personally contacted by any federal agents, I will do this. I will kill you. Again, I am serious. Sic semper tyrannis."
Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, D.C., issued a statement saying, "No one should ever face the threat of violence just for seeking health care."
"We are proud to provide a safe, welcoming environment for our employees and for our patients so they can get the high-quality health care they need. We are strong, and our doors stay open for everyone who needs our care. No matter what," the statement added.
Last year, violent crime against abortion clinics hit a record-high, according to the National Abortion Federation, a Washington D.C.-based abortion rights group. Providers reported 1,369 violent acts against their clinics in 2018, up from 1,081 in 2017, according to the group's 2018 report. Incidents of disruption — which includes hate mail, obstruction and picketing — also hit a record-high in 2018, with providers reporting over 100,000 incidents across the country.
The three men charged with threatening extreme violence against Planned Parenthood facilities all used iFunny, an online social platform known for white supremacist content. Earlier this month, Justin Olsen, an 18-year-old Ohio man, was arrested for posting threats on the website, including a picture of a man shooting guns with the caption: "me walking into the nearest Planned Parenthood."
Though Olsen said the threat was "a joke," authorities reportedly seized 15 rifles, 10 semi-automatic pistols, and 10,000 rounds of ammunition during a raid where he lived. Olsen was later indicted by a grand jury, charging him with making threats against law enforcement.
Referencing Olsen's arrest, Farhan Sheikh posted threats against a Planned Parenthood in Illinois earlier this week. The 19-year-old Chicago man wrote, "I am done with my state and thier (sic) bulls--- abortion laws and allowing innocrnt (sic) kids to be slaughtered for the so called 'womans right" (sic) bulls---. Ive (sic) seen nothing but whores go out of the way to get an abortion, but no more."
"I will proceed to slaughter and murder any doctor, patient, or visitor i see in the area and I will not back down," Sheikh wrote.
Sheikh was arrested last week for "transmitting a threat in interstate commerce," according to a press release from the Department of Justice. If convicted, Sheikh could face up to five years in prison.
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