Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said Thursday that the FBI told her that she was among the group of Jewish state elected officials targeted for murder by a “heavily armed defendant” who has been arrested.
Nessel tweeted that news along with an article detailing the recent arrest of the man, identified as former University of Michigan employee Jack Eugene Carpenter III, for making threats via interstate communications.
“Probable cause exists that [Carpenter] made threats to cause injury and death to Jewish members of the Michigan government,” an FBI agent wrote in a complaint against Carpenter.
In her tweet, Nessel wrote: “The FBI has confirmed I was a target of the heavily armed defendant in this matter.”
“It is my sincere hope that the federal authorities take this offense just as seriously as my Hate Crimes & Domestic Terrorism Unit takes plots to murder elected officials,” Nessel added.
The news comes two months after a Delaware man was sentenced to more than 19 years in prison for a plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer before the 2020 presidential election.
That man, Barry Croft Jr., was the last of four defendants to be sentenced in connection with the conspiracy against Whitmer. The scheme was motivated by anger about Covid-19 pandemic restrictions imposed in Michigan.
In its criminal complaint against Carpenter, the FBI said the Tipton, Mich., resident was in Texas when he made the threats on Twitter that led to his arrest.
“I’m heading back to Michigan now threatening to carry out the punishment of death to anyone that is jewish in the Michigan govt if they don’t leave, or confess,” Carpenter tweeted on Feb. 17, according to an affidavit by an FBI agent that supported the criminal complaint.
The affidavit said Carpenter followed up with another tweet a day later.
“You may want to let everyone know, and Wayne County sheriff as well, any attempt to subdue me will be met with deadly force in self-defense,” he wrote, according to the document.
After being notified of Carpenter’s tweet, the Detroit FBI office checked databases and found that he had a “valid but unserved Personal Protection Order against him” that was signed Feb. 9, according to the court filing.
The check also found that Carpenter had been arrested by Michigan State Police in December for assault, and that he was the registered owner of three 9mm handguns, the agent wrote.
Carpenter’s mother later told authorities he had also owned a 12-gauge shotgun, and two hunting rifles, one of which was a military-style weapon, according to the affidavit.
The agent wrote that a State Police trooper told the agent on Feb. 18 that he was “currently investigating” Carpenter for the theft of a Smith & Wesson handgun from his girlfriend.
The trooper said that on that same morning, he received a call from Carpenter’s mother, who reported that her son was “currently in Texas, but requested money from her to make a trip back to Michigan.”
“She refused him and he became angry, saying he would sell some sliver to get money, but he was returning to Michigan in the next few days,” the agent wrote in the affidavit.
Carpenter in a Feb. 18 tweet wrote, “I was fired from the university of Michigan after going through all the appeal processes for refusing to take experimental medication” related to Covid.
A University of Michigan spokesperson told CNBC that Carpenter worked there from mid-2011 to December 2021.
“His position when his employment ended was as a systems administrator intermediate in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts,” the spokesperson said. “It is U-M policy not to share additional information on personnel matters.”
Carpenter was ordered temporarily detained without bail at a hearing in U.S. District Court in Michigan on Wednesday.
He is due to appear in court on Friday for a detention hearing.