Ramaswamy was the target of death threats in NH that led to FBI arrest, campaign says
A New Hampshire man has been accused of sending text messages threatening to kill a presidential candidate ahead of a scheduled campaign event Monday, federal prosecutors said.
The U.S. Attorney's office did not name the candidate. However, a spokesperson for Republican candidate Vivek Ramaswamy said Monday that the texts were directed at his campaign.
"We are grateful to law enforcement for their swiftness and professionalism in handling this matter and pray for the safety of all Americans," Stefan Mychajliw, deputy communications director, said in a statement.
Tyler Anderson, 30, of Dover, was arrested Saturday and charged with sending a threat using interstate commerce. He did not speak at his initial court appearance Monday other than telling the judge he understood the proceedings, and his court-appointed attorney declined to comment afterward. A detention hearing was scheduled for Thursday.
Ramaswamy went on to hold his event at the Roundabout Diner & Lounge in Portsmouth.
According to court documents, the man received a text message from the candidate's campaign on Friday notifying him of Monday's breakfast event in Portsmouth.
The campaign staff received two text messages in response, according to an FBI agent affidavit. One threatened to shoot the candidate in the head, the other threatened to kill everyone at the event and desecrate their corpses.
The cellphone number was traced to the man, the FBI said. Agents executed a search warrant at the man's home on Saturday. The texts were found in a deleted folder, the affidavit said.
The man told the FBI in an interview that he had sent similar texts to "multiple other campaigns," the affidavit said. The document includes a screenshot of texts threatening a mass shooting in response to an invitation to see a candidate "who isn't afraid to tell it like it is." Republican Chris Christie calls his events "Tell it Like It Is Town Halls." His campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The charge provides for a sentence of up to five years in prison, up to three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000.
This story has been updated with additional information from the Associated Press.