WASHINGTON — A man in Ohio has been arrested and charged with threatening Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Timothy J. Ireland, Jr., 41, was indicted in U.S. District Court in Toledo with one count of making interstate threats, one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm, and one count of being a fugitive in possession of a firearm, the U.S. Attorney’s office for Northern Ohio said in a statement Friday.
Ireland was arrested in Toledo after the U.S. Capitol Police noticed a threatening Facebook post on July 23.
“She should be shot. Can’t fire me, my employer would load the gun for me,” Ireland allegedly wrote, next to a news article about Ocasio-Cortez, according to an affidavit filed by a member of the Capitol Police.
When officers called Ireland to discuss the threat, he told them he was proud of what he’d written, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
“He stated he made the statements and was very proud of the post he made,” prosecutors wrote. “He also stated he has firearms and always carries them concealed.”
A search of his home in Toledo turned up three rounds of .32-caliber ammunition and four rounds of .45-caliber ammunition, and an FBI criminal history check revealed Ireland had two outstanding warrants, according to an affidavit filed in his case.
One warrant is for felony failure to appear in a previous case in Sarasota County, Florida, related to a violation of probation. The second relates to a misdemeanor failure to appear on a marijuana possession charge brought in Cook County, Georgia.
President Trump has criticized Ocasio-Cortez and other members of the so-called “Squad” in Congress — four progressive members of Congress who are all minority women — as “a very racist group of troublemakers.”
Trump’s tweeted that the Squad is “so bad for our country” on July 22 — the day before Ireland’s alleged post on Facebook.
Suspects charged with violent acts have been increasingly invoking Trump’s language in their legal defense, including Curt Brockway, a 39-year-old Montana Army veteran who choke-slammed a child for not removing his hat for the national anthem. His attorney recently claimed that his client was simply following the president’s orders.
A Florida man who mailed inoperative pipe bombs to prominent critics of Trump was sentenced to 20 years in prison by a federal judge in New York on Monday. Lawyers for Cesar Sayoc, nicknamed the “MAGA Bomber,” argued that he watched Fox News “religiously,” and that passionate support of Trump became his outlet for spiraling anxiety and paranoia.
His lawyers wrote that “in this darkness, Mr. Sayoc found light in Donald J. Trump.”
Cover: U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) lights a candle during a vigil for the victims of the recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, in Grand Army Plaza on August 5, 2019 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)