A Long Island man has been arrested and charged with threatening to assault, shoot and bomb LGBTQ individuals, organizations, and businesses, including the NYC Pride celebration.
According to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice, Robert Fehring, 74, of Bayport, N.Y., stands accused of sending letters to individuals associated with the LGBTQ community threatening violence since at least 2013.
In one letter, he reportedly threatened to place “radio-controlled devices placed at numerous strategic places” at the New York City Pride March with “firepower” that would “make the 2016 Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooting look like a cakewalk,” referring to a mass shooting that killed 49 and wounded dozens more.
Federal prosecutors also claim that Fehring sent a letter threatening to kill the organizer of a June 2021 Pride event in East Meadow, N.Y.
“[W]e were right there you…FREAK!!! They couldn’t get a shot off at you, slithering around the back stage area like a snake. Too many cops. Very disappointed. But your time has come,” Fehring allegedly wrote.
“They are out to KILL you…and your boyfriend. You are being watched. No matter how long it takes, you will be taken out… high-powered bullet… bomb…knife…whatever it takes.”
On Nov. 18, members of the FBI’s Civil Rights Squad and the New York Joint Terrorism Task Force executed a search warrant at Fehring’s home, where they recovered photographs from that East Meadow Pride event, two loaded shotguns, hundred of rounds of ammunition, two stun guns, and a stamped envelope addressed to an LGBTQ-affiliated attorney containing the remains of a dead bird.
According to charging documents, Fehring was detained following the raid of his home, and waived his Miranda rights, reportedly admitting to police that he sent he letters because he was upset over a “sickening overdose of that stuff being shoved down everybody’s face on the paper, on the TV, and all over the place” and that he was “not a fan of any of the homosexuality, homosexual thing.”
Other targets of Fehring’s threats include the CEO of an LGBTQ group based in Sag Harbor, N.Y., telling the CEO to “be ready to meet your end if you show up at Eisenhower [Park] on Sunday,” a reference to the 2021 East Meadow Pride event.
“It’s a great place to unload a high-powered rifle bullet from a distance, that can go right through your gay face,” he allegedly wrote. “…Pay the price if you want. They can call you a martyr. We can call you…gone.”
Fehring also allegedly sent threat to a queer barbershop in Brooklyn that had been publicized on the local news, including on News 12.
“You unnatural, abnormal, deviant, perverse scum…animals… lower than the shit at the bottom of the pig pen. . . . Men having oral and anal sex with each other is as twisted and beyond comprehension as it gets. Gay n****s going at it is even more gross and horrendous human behavior,” the letter read.
“Thanks to News 12, we now know who you are, and where you are. And your shop is the perfect target for a bombing and/or graffiti and/or a shattered window front….or beating the scum that frequents your den of shit into a bloody pool of steaming flesh.”
Investigators also say they discovered other letters, postmarked between 2018 and 2021, that were similar in tone, writing style, and marked with a trademark “confidential” stamp.
Those letters frequently referred to “only 3%” of the population being LGBTQ, referring to heterosexual individuals as “normal” people, describing LGBTQ people as worse than the “bottom of the pig-pen” or claim that “even animals know better” than to engage in same-sex activity.
Several letters refer to “radio-controlled devices” like those Fehring allegedly mentioned in his threats against NYC Pride celebrations, and railed against the hanging of Pride or rainbow-colored flags in Sayville, N.Y. Investigators also found 20 Pride or rainbow-colored flags that appear to be identical to flags stolen from flagpoles in Sayville this past July.
Breon Peace, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Michael Driscoll, the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the FBI’s New York Field Office, announced Fehring’s arrest on Monday.
The criminal complaint against Fehring had previously been sealed at the request of FBI agents who expressed concerns that alerting Fehring to the charges against him would allow him to intimidate witnesses or put the safety of potential victims at risk.
“As alleged, the defendant’s hate-filled invective and threats of violence directed at members of the LGBTQ+ community have no place in our society and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Peace said in a statement. “This Office is firmly committed to protecting the civil rights of all members of every community in this district, including the LGBTQ+ community and other minority communities.”
“Fehring’s alleged threats to members of the LGBTQ+ community were not only appalling, but dangerous, despite the fact he hadn’t yet acted on his purported intentions,” Driscoll added. “As the primary federal agency responsible for investigating civil rights violations, the FBI takes all threats of this nature seriously.
“If you or someone you know has received a similar threat, report it to us by calling 1-800-CALLFBI. In an emergency, always call your local police department.”
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