Justice News

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Texas Man Indicted for Sending Violent Threats to Prominent Maryland Doctor Who Had Been a Vocal Advocate of the COVID-19 Vaccine

A federal grand jury in Baltimore, Maryland, has indicted a Texas man for sending a threatening communication to a Maryland doctor.

The indictment was unsealed today following the arrest of Scott Eli Harris, 51, of Aubrey, Texas, who is scheduled to have an initial appearance on Wednesday, Oct. 13, in U.S. District Court in Plano, Texas.

The indictment charges Harris with a single count of willfully transmitting in interstate commerce a threat to injure another person. Specifically, it alleges that Harris sent a message from his cellular phone to the doctor, who had been a vocal proponent of the COVID-19 vaccine, that included violent and explicit threats, such as, “Never going to take your wonder drug. My 12 gauge promises I won’t,” and “… I can’t wait for the shooting to start.” The message also referenced the doctor’s race and national origin.

If convicted, Harris faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.  

The indictment was announced by Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, U.S. Attorney Erek L. Barron for the District of Maryland and Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Sobocinski of the FBI Baltimore Field Office.

This case was investigated by the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney P. Michael Cunningham of the District of Maryland and Trial Attorney Katherine G. DeVar of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division are prosecuting the case.

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence of guilt, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

Topic(s): 
Coronavirus
Civil Rights
Press Release Number: 
21-987
Updated October 12, 2021