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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Pennsylvania

Friday, January 26, 2018

Texas Man Charged with Threatening Mass Shooting at Steelers-Jaguars Playoff Game

PITTSBURGH – Yuttana Choochongkol, aka Jason Manotham, 40, of San Antonio, Texas, has been arrested and charged in a criminal complaint with one count of transmitting interstate threatening communications, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

According to the January 12, 2018, criminal complaint, defendant Yuttana Choochongkol sent three separate communications threatening a mass shooting aimed at Pittsburgh Steelers players and fans at Heinz Field during the January 14, 2018, Steelers AFC Divisional Round game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Choochongkol is alleged to have communicated a threat of a mass shooting and suicide to KDKA-TV through their ‘Contact Us” internet portal on January 10, 2018, at 8:47 p.m. EST. He transmitted subsequent violent threats related to the Steelers playoff game through the “Contact Us” internet portal on January 10, 2018, at 8:26 p.m. EST and again on January 11, 2018, at 9:04 a.m. EST. Special Agents with the FBI-Pittsburgh’s Joint Terrorism Task Force were able to trace the originating address of the communications to a facility in San Antonio, Texas. FBI agents in San Antonio responded to that location and identified the individual who communicated the threats as Yuttana Choochongkol, aka Jason Manotham.

Choochongkol was arrested on January 12, 2018, in San Antonio, Texas. Today, a federal magistrate judge in the Western District of Texas granted the government’s request that Choochongkol be detained without bond pending trial in the Western District of Pennsylvania.

“Just days prior to 68,000 fans gathering at Heinz Field, the FBI worked rapidly to identify and arrest this defendant, who threatened mass violence against players and fans,” said U.S. Attorney Scott Brady. “We commend the FBI and Pittsburgh Bureau of Police for their exceptional work in the arrest of Choochongkol, which averted a potential disaster. The safety and protection of the citizens of Western Pennsylvania remains our highest priority.”

The law provides for a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Assistant United States Attorney Paul Hull is prosecuting this case. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, aided by the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, conducted the investigation that led to the complaint against Choochongkol. The United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas is also assisting in the prosecution of this case.

A criminal complaint is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant may not be prosecuted unless, within 30 days, a grand jury has found probable cause to believe that he is guilty of an offense.

Updated January 29, 2018