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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Alaska

Friday, January 19, 2018

Chugiak Man Sentenced for Threatening Smithsonian Institution Employee by Email

Anchorage, Alaska – U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder announced today that a Chugiak man was sentenced for emailing threats to a local Smithsonian Institution employee.  


Brandon McElroy, 33, of Chugiak, Alaska, was sentenced yesterday by Chief U.S. District Judge Timothy M. Burgess, to five years of probation with conditions that McElroy undergo mental health and substance abuse treatment programs.  He was also ordered to not comment about the case, directly or indirectly, on social media.  McElroy previously pleaded guilty on Dec. 14, 2016, to one count of transmitting threatening communication in interstate commerce.


According to court documents, McElroy worked for several years on a project filming rural Alaska for the Smithsonian Institution’s Arctic Studies Center.  As the project began to wind down, McElroy became upset and sent a Smithsonian employee several threatening emails beginning on Feb. 1, 2016.  In one email, McElroy stated “I very seriously thought about driving to your house and killing you tonight” and in another “This wasn’t going to go away until one of us was dead.”  At sentencing, Judge Burgess noted that McElroy’s threats placed the Smithsonian employee in fear.  Even after his guilty plea, McElroy made several social media posts which falsely and intentionally impugned the Smithsonian employee’s integrity and professionalism.


Prior to sentencing, McElroy was ordered by the court to undergo a mental health assessment with the Federal Bureau of Prisons. 


U.S. Attorney Schroder commends the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Anchorage Police Department, and Municipal Prosecutors Office for their efforts in the investigation and prosecution of this case.

Updated January 19, 2018