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Press Release

Woman Who Threatened Violent Attack At Community College Pleads Guilty To Federal Hoax Charge

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Connecticut

David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Kimberly K. Mertz, Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the FBI, announced that AMANDA C. BOWDEN, 19, of East Haven, waived her right to indictment and pleaded guilty today before United States Magistrate Judge William I. Garfinkel in Bridgeport to threatening to carry out a violent attack at Gateway Community College in New Haven.

“In text messages and recorded conversations, this defendant explicitly detailed her threats which included a planned shooting and bombing at Gateway Community College,” stated U.S. Attorney Fein.  “Our Office takes all such threats with utmost seriousness and will prosecute them to the fullest extent of federal law.  I commend the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force and the New Haven and East Haven Police Departments for quickly identifying and neutralizing this threat.”

“FBI New Haven’s Joint Terrorism Task Force acted immediately to investigate Bowden’s threats and make an arrest,” stated FBI Special Agent in Charge Mertz.  “The investigation was very thorough and supported a successful prosecution.  Most importantly, however, was that the JTTF was able to monitor and assess the threats in real-time, with the safety and security of Gateway students, the City of New Haven and the general public always being our first priority.”

According to court filings and statements made in court, between approximately February 4 and February 16, 2013, BOWDEN made numerous telephonic threats, initially through text messaging with a cooperating witness and subsequently through text messaging and verbal conversations with an undercover law enforcement agent, discussing her plans to commit a suicidal mass shooting and bombing at Gateway Community College in New Haven.  In these communications, BOWDEN claimed to possess firearms and to have constructed at least two napalm-based bombs at her residence.

BOWDEN has been detained since her arrest on February 19, 2013.  On that date, investigating agents conducted a court-authorized search of BOWDEN’s East Haven residence.  No firearms or explosive devices were found during the search.

BOWDEN pleaded guilty to one count of false information and hoaxes, a charge that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of five years and a fine of up to $250,000.  She is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge Michael P. Shea on July 13, 2013, in Hartford.

This matter was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, the New Haven Police Department and the East Haven Police Department.  The FBI’s JTTF includes participants from the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, Naval Criminal Investigative Service, Connecticut State Police, Bridgeport Police Department, Norwich Police Department and the New York Police Department.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Henry K. Kopel.


Tom Carson
(203) 821-3722

Updated March 18, 2015