A Maryland man threatened to “slaughter” people at an LGBTQ organization in Washington, D.C., apparently in retaliation for the school shooting in Nashville committed by a transgender shooter, according to a criminal complaint released by federal authorities today.
The threats came amid a wave of misinformation around the attack that killed six people at the private religious school last week. After police there announced that the killer had identified as transgender, right-wing extremists launched a line of rhetoric that inaccurately claimed transgender people were responsible for a spate of recent mass shootings.
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What was the threat?
The threatening voicemail was left at the Washington office of Human Rights Campaign, an organization that lobbies for LGBTQ rights, late on the evening of March 28.
“You guys going to shoot up our schools now? Is that how it’s going to be?” the message said, according to the allegations filed by the FBI. The caller allegedly went on to threaten to “slaughter you back. We’ll cut your throats. We’ll put a bullet in your head.”
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Federal officials say the message was left by Adam Michael Nettina, 35, of West Friendship, Maryland. He was arrested three days later.
Charges filed over threat
Nettina faces federal charges that carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison for interstate communications with a threat to injure.
“I believe this voicemail was referencing the March 27, 2023, mass shooting at the Covenant School, in Nashville, Tennessee, involving multiple fatalities by a firearm, where the perpetrator was publicly identified as being transgender,” the agent who filed the affidavit states.
Wave of aggression toward LGBT groups
Despite claims surrounding the Nashville shooter, gun-violence data actually shows almost none of the hundreds of mass shootings in America were committed by trans people.
Experts last week noted that the proportion of mass shooters who are trans is even smaller than the proportion of trans people in the country overall. In most cases, shooters are a white man.
The alleged threats are just the latest escalation in a national trend that has seen LGBTQ events and organizations threatened by far-right extremists. Drag shows around the country have become targets of fire bombs, armed demonstrations and protests by white supremacists, members of the Proud Boys extremist group and neo-Nazis.
In November, a man attacked Club Q, an LGBTQ-friendly bar in Colorado Springs, shooting and killing five people and injuring 25 more. The shooter faces scores of charges, including hate crime charges.
Nettina had his initial appearance in court on Monday and remains in custody.