Washington — A New Hampshire man was arrested and charged after he allegedly sent a text message threatening to kill Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy and voters attending a campaign event, federal prosecutors said Monday.
The man, identified by the Justice Department as 30-year-old Tyler Anderson of Dover, New Hampshire, is accused of sending two threatening replies to a text message sent by Ramaswamy’s campaign on Friday, which notified voters about an event taking place Monday morning in Portsmouth.
In the first message, Anderson wrote, “Great, another opportunity for me to blow [the candidate’s] brains out!” according to charging documents, which redacted Ramaswamy’s name. The second message stated, “I’m going to kill everyone who attends and then f**k their corpses,” the Justice Department said.
While court documents didn’t identify the candidate or the campaign, a spokesperson for the Ramaswamy campaign confirmed to CBS News that the threats were directed at him.
“We are grateful to law enforcement for their swiftness and professionalism in handling this matter and pray for the safety of all Americans,” Tricia McLaughlin, the press secretary for Ramaswamy’s campaign, told CBS News.
Ramaswamy held a breakfast town hall meeting in Portsmouth on Monday. McLaughlin told CBS News that there was an increased security presence at the event.
According to an affidavitwritten by an FBI agent who investigated the threat, Ramaswamy’s campaign notified the Portsmouth Police Department of the messages it received in response to its notification to voters. The campaign said its records indicated the phone number was associated with Anderson, and other data available to law enforcement showed the number was his, the affidavit stated.
Federal agents obtained a court-authorized search warrant for Anderson’s residence and seized his phone and firearms during a search on Saturday, according to the court document. During a preliminary search of the phone, an FBI agent found the text messages reported by Ramaswamy’s campaign in a deleted folder, the affidavit said.
The agent found additional text messages sent around Dec. 6 in response to a message from a different unidentified presidential candidate, in which he made a similar threat, according to the charging documents.
“Fantastic, now I know where to go so I can blow that b*****d’s head off!” one read. “Thanks, I’ll see you there. Hope you have the stamina for a mass shooting!” a second message said, according to court filings.
Anderson was arrested Saturday and admitted to sending the text messages to Ramaswamy and multiple other campaigns, according to court documents.
He was charged with one count of transmitting a threat to injure another person over state lines and faces up to five years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000, according to the U.S. attorney in New Hampshire. Anderson is set to appear in federal court in Concord, New Hampshire, on Monday afternoon. His public defender did not immediately respond to a request for comment.