Maine Resident Sentenced to a Year in Prison for Threatening an Attack at Hangout Music Festival
United States Attorney Richard W. Moore of the Southern District of Alabama announces today that Senior United States District Judge Callie V.S. Granade sentenced Christopher Scott Carey, 30, a resident of Portland, Maine, to imprisonment for twelve months and one day for making interstate threatening communications. As part of the sentence, the judge ordered that Carey undergo three years of supervised release after finishing his term of imprisonment, pay a $100 mandatory special assessment, receive substance abuse testing, and receive treatment for substance abuse and mental health.
According to documents filed with the court as part of his guilty plea, on March 12, 2018 Carey posted threatening communications on a Facebook group page read by other persons regarding the Hangout Music Festival, a popular annual festival held in May in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Carey posted about the festival, “I’m bringing an AR 15 so it should be good inside.” A Facebook user remarked, “Should be good as long as your friend brings the ammo in a separate bag.” Carey replied, “Extended mags bro [smiley face emoji] hope everyone’s ready [explosions emoji].” A Facebook user posted, “Delete this garbage” to which Carey replied, “But what if it’s for real. Got to get that warning out there.” Representatives of the music festival notified law enforcement officials, who took various security precautions as a result of Carey’s threats.
On May 4, 2018, the court signed a criminal complaint and issued a warrant for Carey’s arrest. On May 14, 2018, government agents arrested Carey in Portland, Maine. After being Mirandized, Carey admitted to sending the Facebook messages with the intent to communicate a true threat and with the knowledge that they would be viewed as a true threat by readers of the messages. Carey said that he recalled the mass shooting at a music festival in Las Vegas, Nevada in October 2017 and knew the similarities between what he posted and what had occurred at the Las Vegas festival.
On May 31, 2018, a federal grand jury for the Southern District of Alabama charged Carey with one count of making interstate threatening communications in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 875(c). On July 23, 2018, Carey pleaded guilty before Senior Judge Granade to the charge.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Gulf Shores Police Department investigated the case. Assistant United States Attorney Sinan Kalayoglu prosecuted the case.