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NY man charged with planning to kill former President George W. Bush

By Terry Frieden, CNN Justice Producer
This is a picture from the Facebook page of 23-year-old Ian Rotunno of Greece, New York.
This is a picture from the Facebook page of 23-year-old Ian Rotunno of Greece, New York.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The Secret Service says the suspect told agents he was intent on killing Bush
  • The man turned himself in to Owego, New York, police on October 7
  • He was charged Tuesday in federal court in Buffalo

(CNN) -- A suburban Rochester, New York, man described as potentially "the next Oklahoma City bomber" has been arrested and charged with planning to kill former President George W. Bush, according to federal authorities.

The suspect, 23-year-old Ian Rotunno of Greece, New York, repeatedly told Secret Service agents he was intent on killing the former president, and had planned to go to Washington or Texas to carry out that mission. However, Rotunno, after loading his truck with assorted weapons, turned himself in to Owego, New York, police on October 7.

Rotunno was charged Tuesday in federal court in Buffalo with "knowingly threatening to kill, kidnap or inflict bodily harm upon a former President of the United States." If convicted, he could receive up to 10 years in prison.

Secret Service Agent Joel Blackerby said in an affidavit that Rotunno believes the U.S. government is corrupt and it is his job to do "whatever is necessary to stop it, call attention to his views, and will be more than happy to go down with it as well as take down anyone in his way. "

At one point Rotunno told agents he was simply going to fire his shotgun into the reflecting pool on the Washington mall to gain the attention of authorities, expecting he would then be arrested or killed by law enforcement officials. But he added he would kill the former president with his bare hands if he could.

"I know where to find President Bush at his ranch in Texas, and I'm not going to stop," Rotunno told Secret Service agents, according to the affidavit.

The Secret Service quotes psychiatric physician Dr. Anthony Yacona at St. James Hospital in Hornell, New York, as issuing a warning not to release Rotunno.

"Dr. Yacona stated that in his opinion, if left to his own accord Rotunno would fall into the category of 'the next Oklahoma City bomber,' and was an immediate danger to Federal Government employees," the affidavit said.

"Dr. Yacona stated that in his opinion Rotunno would, if released, take whatever measures necessary to get his point across to include attempts on Secret Service-protected persons or other federal government employees and or facilities," the document said.

Rotunno will remain in federal custody pending a bail hearing set for November 15.

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