Two New Mexico Men Facing Federal Charges Arising From Social Media School Shooting Threats
ALBUQUERQUE – The FBI has filed federal charges against two New Mexico men for using social media platforms to post school shootings threats, announced U.S. Attorney John C. Anderson and Special Agent in Charge Terry Wade of the FBI’s Albuquerque Division. The criminal charges arise from tips received by the FBI and its law enforcement partners since last week’s school shooting in Parkland, Fla.
“The Department of Justice will investigate and prosecute school shooting threats on social media platforms, which have recently spread like wildfire in the District of New Mexico in the wake of the Parkland shootings and other tragedies, causing fear and concern in our communities,” said U.S. Attorney Anderson. “When the lives of our children potentially are at stake, we will take action. These serious criminal charges should motivate everyone – adults and minors alike – to consider the consequences of posting threatening messages on social media platforms, and to report this unlawful behavior where it occurs.”
“The FBI has zero tolerance for anyone who threatens to do harm to others,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Wade. “We hope these charges send a strong message that the FBI, working in conjunction with our state and local partners, will investigate these tips thoroughly so we can keep our communities safe.”
The FBI arrested Sebastian Jarvison, 25, of Brimhall, N.M., yesterday afternoon on a criminal complaint charging him with transmitting in interstate commerce communications containing threats to injure others in McKinley County, N.M., on Feb. 14, 2018. The complaint alleges that on Feb. 16, 2018, the FBI received a tip regarding school shooting and bomb threats allegedly posted by Jarvison on Facebook. Jarvison’s Facebook posts allegedly included threats to “go shoot a school,” “put a bomb on a plane,” and “put a bomb on a plane and shoot up a school.”
This morning, Jarvison made his initial appearance in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M. Jarvison remains in federal custody pending a preliminary hearing and a detention hearing, both of which are scheduled for Feb. 26, 2018.
A separate criminal complaint, filed on Feb. 22, 2018, charges John Russell Williams, 19, of Farmington, N.M., with a similar offense. The complaint alleges that Williams committed the offense in San Juan County, N.M., on Feb. 15, 2018, by replying to a school shooting threat on Facebook with a slang term that means “let’s do it.” According to the complaint, on Feb. 15, 2018, law enforcement authorities received a tip about a Facebook post allegedly made by a juvenile containing the following statement: “only 2 months into 2018 and already we got 29 school shootings. F**k it my turn.” Williams allegedly replied to the post with the term “Haha esketit” – which means “let’s do it” or “let’s get it” – and a laughing emoji.
Williams was arrested on a related state charge on Feb. 16, 2018, and is currently in state custody on that charge and other pending state charges. Williams will be transferred to federal custody to face the federal charge in the criminal complaint.
If convicted, Jarvison and Williams each face a statutory maximum penalty of five years of imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. Charges in criminal complaints are merely accusations and defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
These cases were investigated by the Gallup, Farmington and Albuquerque offices of the FBI with assistance from the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office, Farmington Police Department, and Bloomfield Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Niki Tapia-Brito is prosecuting the cases.