E-mail threat on president spurs quick arrest

Law enforcement took down a man who wrote an email threatening to kill President Barack Obama.

Story highlights

  • The arrest took place in a Seattle suburb
  • The suspect, Anton Caluori, was armed, the affidavit says
  • The man's mother said he made "negative statements' about Obama, the affidavit says
  • A detention hearing is set for Monday
Lawmen subdued and disarmed a Seattle-area man suspected of writing an expletive-laden e-mail threatening President Barack Obama, a Secret Service agent says.
Anton Caluori, 31, was arrested Tuesday at his home in Federal Way, a Seattle, Washington, suburb, Agent Bryan Molnar said in an affidavit.
Caluori is charged with making threats against the president and assaulting a federal officer, according to the affidavit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Seattle.
Molnar wrote that the e-mail, received by the FBI earlier Tuesday, said, "I will kill the president !!!!!" and "You can't afford to call my bluff."
The message said that dying "isn't frightening ... it's peaceful ... you will see..." and spoke of a "cop killing spree ... just over the hill," Molnar said. The e-mail included an address and challenged authorities to "come and get me."
A database check confirmed that Caluori lived at the address in the e-mail," Molnar said in his affidavit, and the username of the e-mail account appeared consistent with his name.
Molnar said he and Federal Way police officer Andy Hensing went to the apartment complex at the address, where an employee told them Caluori was a "hothead" with a "temper" who lived with his mother.
The officers knocked on the apartment door twice with no answer. The third time, a man later identified as Caluori opened the door, Molnar said.
"Caluori was wearing a black bandoleer filled with 12-gauge shotgun shells around his torso. Attached to the bandoleer at chest level was a large black fixed-blade knife. On his ankle, Caluori was weaving a revolver in an ankle holster. Caluori's right hand was placed out-of-view behind his back," the affidavit said.
The officers commanded the man several times to "show us your hands."
At first he didn't comply. But then he "moved his right hand from behind his back revealing a stockless black pump-action shotgun with a pistol grip," the affidavit said.
After he raised the firearm, the officers scuffled with Caluori.
"Officer Hensing and I were able to take Caluori to the ground. Caluori continued to struggle and would not comply with our commands," Molnar said in the affidavit. "Ultimately, Officer Hensing and I together were able to restrain Caluori and disarm him."
More Federal Way police arrived. Molnar said one of them asked Caluori if there was anything in the apartment that "would hurt" law officers and he replied, "There are things inside that go boom."
The bomb squad was called to the scene and the residence and other apartments were evacuated. But police found no explosives.
The shotgun Caluori pointed was "loaded to capacity, including a round in the chamber. The safety was not engaged," the affidavit said.
The pistol on his ankle was loaded with "five hollow point .38 special caliber rounds," it said, and about 50 12-gauge shotgun rounds were recovered from the shotgun and the bandoleer.
A search of the apartment produced an AK-47-type rifle, a .45 caliber pistol, a Bushmaster AR15 rifle, more ammunition and a laptop computer, Molnar said.
Caluori's mother, identified as R.B. in the affidavit, said Caluori "spends a lot of time on the computer" but she "does not know what he does on it."
According to the affidavit, R.B. said Caluori has "negative views of President Obama and in the last few days, most recently that day, has made negative statements about the president."
After reading Caluori his Miranda rights, Molnar asked him if he knew why the police were at the scene.
"I think I do, but I don't want to say it," he said.
He was shown a copy of the e-mail to the FBI and, asked if he wrote it, said, "possibly," Molnar wrote.
Asked if he had any "issues with the president," Caluori replied, "You don't have a high enough security clearance. Call the CIA or run it up the chain of command," Molnar said.
Threatening the president is punishable by up to five years in prison and assault of a federal agent is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, the U.S. attorney's office said.
"Recent national events are a stark reminder that we must take these threats of death or violence seriously," U. S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan said in a news release. "This case had all the troubling ingredients: threats of violence and explosive devices, multiple weapons with hundreds of rounds and even brandishing of a weapon at law enforcement."
"The United States Secret Service takes all threats against its protectees seriously. This situation is indicative of how a routine investigation can very easily turn violent," said James Helminski, special agent in charge of U.S. Secret Service in Seattle. "We appreciate the professionalism of the Federal Way Police Department in defusing this potentially volatile situation and in the ongoing investigation."
Caluori is in custody at the Federal Detention Center at Sea-Tac, Washington. A detention hearing has been set for Monday, the U.S. attorney's office said.
His attorney, Kyana Stephens, would not comment on the case or the charges.