Federal Jury Convicts Anchorage Man for Making Threatening Statements against Police Officer, Others
Anchorage, Alaska – U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder announced that, yesterday, a federal jury in Anchorage convicted Tyler Chance Bateman, 28, of Anchorage, of eight counts of threatening interstate communications, for using the internet to threaten people in Anchorage. The victims included Bateman’s parents, two Anchorage Police Department officers and their families, and shoppers at a local business.
Within one hour of deliberation, the jury found Bateman guilty on all eight counts after a three-day trial before Chief U.S. District Judge Timothy M. Burgess. As a result of his convictions, Bateman faces a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison, and a fine of up to $250,000. The sentencing hearing has been set for Feb. 4, 2019.
According to evidence presented at trial, on Feb. 4, 2018, Bateman left his home in Anchorage on a one-way airline ticket to New York City. On Feb. 26, 2018, while in New York, Bateman created a text message thread to three people – two family members and a former employer, writing about why he left Alaska, his plans for making a living in New York, how those plans failed, and asked that someone buy him a ticket back to Alaska. After none of the text message recipients offered to buy him a ticket, Bateman responded with a series of messages threatening to shoot, poison, and cut the victims. One of the threats suggested that Bateman would commit a mass shooting.
Later that same day, Bateman threatened, via social media, to shoot and poison an Anchorage Police Officer and “several other people.” Bateman also sent threats to the Police Officer’s personal social media account. Further, Bateman sent threats to APD’s public Facebook page saying, among other things, “I am going to walk into a building with an AR15. I am going to hurt a lot of people.” Approximately seven minutes later, Bateman sent a message to the same APD account alleging that a specific address is where the Chief of Police lived.
On the morning of March 2, 2018, FBI Special Agents in New York City arrested Bateman on charges alleging that he made threatening statements against an Anchorage business and an Anchorage Police Officer. Shortly after his arrest, Bateman was transported back to Anchorage to face the charges.
“Even in the modern digital world, all Alaskans deserve to live their lives safely and securely, without being the victims of frightening — and seemingly anonymous — threats,” said U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder. “What this case clearly illustrates is that those threats do not remain anonymous. Our law enforcement partners will find the perpetrators, and we will prosecute them.”
“It may have taken Mr. Bateman just a few minutes to write his threats, but now he’s facing a lifetime of consequences,” said Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Anchorage Field Office, Jeffery Peterson. “This case is a stark example of how the FBI and our partners respond to threats seriously. It also illustrates the anonymity of the keyboard will not prevent law enforcement from finding a perpetrator and bringing that person to justice.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), with assistance from the Anchorage Police Department (APD), conducted the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of this case. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonas M. Walker.