A California man who sent hundreds of harrowing messages to an activist against gun violence whose daughter was killed in the 2018 Parkland, Florida, school shooting has been sentenced to 1 year in federal prison, according to prosecutors and court documents.
James Catalano, 62, of Fresno, California, pled guilty to cyberstalking on March 28, according to the court documents. CNN has reached out to his attorney.
In December 2021, a parent of one of the students killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School “began receiving a slew of harassing messages” with references to “his daughter, the manner of her death, her pain and suffering as she was murdered and his advocacy against gun violence.” The parent is identified only with the initials “F.G.” in court documents.
According to a complaint, on June 21, 2022, “F.G.” tweeted, “Three weeks after the Parkland shooting, & on the day that gun safety legislation was passed in Florida, I stood with @marcorubio & asked him to support what was about to happen in Florida. He refused. He was a waste then and he is a waste now. Florida will elect @valdemings.”
CNN has found that the tweet and others mentioned in the complaint were sent by Fred Guttenberg – who has dedicated his life to “fighting for gun safety in America” after his 14-year-old daughter, Jaime, was among the 17 people killed at Parkland, his Twitter profile reads.
Catalano replied to Guttenberg’s tweets and continued to send harassing messages through July 2022 via multiple online platforms. Catalano sent “hundreds of disparaging messages, which graphically described the victim’s daughter’s death, and focused on the debate surrounding gun control and the victim’s activism against gun violence,” according to a news release Monday from the US Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Florida.
Federal authorities were informed of the messages and traced two IP addresses to Catalano’s workplace and home in Fresno, according to court documents.
On July 20, 2022, Catalano met with law enforcement after waiving his Miranda rights, according to a complaint. He admitted to sending the messages.
Guttenberg tweeted following the sentencing Friday, saying it “sends a message to those who cyberstalk the families of shooting victims that they will be caught and punished.”
CNN has reached out to Guttenberg for comment.