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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 22, 2021

Dobbs Ferry Man Charged In White Plains Federal Court With Destruction Of MTA Vehicle

Nicholas Skulstad Allegedly Rammed His Vehicle Repeatedly into an MTA Vehicle, Charged at and Threatened Responding Police Officers, and Had a Kill List Naming Various Public Officials

Audrey Strauss, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, William F. Sweeney Jr., the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and Dermot Shea, the Commissioner of the Police Department for the City of New York (“NYPD”), announced that NICHOLAS SKULSTAD was taken into federal custody today based on a criminal Complaint filed in White Plains federal court charging him with destruction of a motor vehicle employed in interstate commerce, in connection with SKULSTAD’s alleged assault on a Metropolitan Transportation Authority (“MTA”) vehicle in Ossining, New York, on April 5, 2021.  SKULSTAD will be presented later today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul E. Davison.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said:  “As alleged, Nicholas Skulstad used his vehicle as a weapon, repeatedly ramming it into an occupied MTA vehicle, then shattering the driver’s window.  When police officers responded, Skulstad allegedly charged at and threatened them, and had in his car a notebook page titled “List – To Kill,” with names of public figures.  Thanks to the combined response of law enforcement officers and agents, Skulstad is in custody and facing a serious federal charge.”

FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. said:  “Skulstad’s alleged targeting of an MTA vehicle, and the subsequent actions he took against police officers who arrived on scene, remind us of the threat our public servants face each and every day as they uphold their duty to protect the communities they serve. Thanks to the work of the FBI’s JTTFs and our many partners in this case, Skulstad no longer poses a threat to society or, more specifically, those he included as targets on his list.”

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said:  “Attacks against public servants, as alleged in this federal complaint, endanger not only those who work to maintain public safety, but all of society.  I commend our investigators in the NYPD and our partners in the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force and the United States Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York for working closely to ensure this individual would be brought to justice.”

As alleged in the Complaint unsealed in White Plains federal court[1]:

On April 5, 2021, SKULSTAD rammed his vehicle repeatedly into an MTA vehicle driven by an MTA employee in Ossining, New York, damaging the MTA vehicle and forcing it off the road.  SKULSTAD subsequently exited his vehicle, approached the MTA vehicle on foot, and banged on the driver-side window until he shattered it.  

When Ossining Police Department officers arrived at the scene, SKULSTAD yelled at an officer, “I’m Jesus Christ!  You are going to die today!  Are you ready to die?”  SKULSTAD then charged a police vehicle, throwing his body into the driver-side door and yelling threats at an officer inside.  SKULSTAD resisted officers’ attempts to subdue him, before ultimately being taken into custody. 

After taking SKULSTAD into custody, law enforcement found in SKULSTAD’s vehicle, among other things, a shell casing and a notebook with a page entitled, “List – To Kill,” which listed the names of various current and former public officials and other public figures. 

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SKULSTAD, 33, of Dobbs Ferry, New York, is charged with destruction of a motor vehicle employed in interstate commerce, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.  The maximum potential penalty is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant would be determined by the judge.

Ms. Strauss praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI’s New York-based Joint Terrorism Task Force (“JTTF”), which consists of investigators and analysts from the FBI, the NYPD, and over 50 other federal, state, and local agencies.  Ms. Strauss also thanked the Ossining Police Department, the Irvington Police Department, the Dobbs Ferry Police Department, the Croton-on-Hudson Police Department, the FBI’s Newark-based JTTF, the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office, the Westchester County Real Time Crime Center, and the New York State Intelligence Center for their assistance.

The case is being handled by the Office’s Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit.  Assistant United States Attorneys Sam Adelsberg and Elinor L. Tarlow are in charge of the prosecution, with assistance from Trial Attorney Elisabeth Poteat of the Counterterrorism Section of the Department of Justice’s National Security Division.

The charge contained in the Complaint is merely an allegation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

 

[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Complaint, and the description of the Complaint set forth herein, constitute only allegations, and every fact described herein should be treated as an allegation.

Topic(s): 
Counterterrorism
Contact: 
James Margolin, Nicholas Biase (212) 637-2600
Press Release Number: 
21-094
Updated April 22, 2021