Metro Weekly

FBI Arrests Florida Man Who Threatened to Shoot Gay People

Sean Michael Albert told FBI agents that a post on Discord threatening to shoot gay people at Florida State University was a "joke."

Photo of the rifle allegedly posted by Sean Albert on Discord – Photo: U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.

The FBI has arrested a Florida man who allegedly posted an image of an automatic rifle with a message threatening to kill gay people in a mass shooting at Florida State University last month.

Sean Michael Albert, 19, of Winter Park, Florida, was arrested on Jan. 3 on a federal charge of making an interstate communication to threaten to injure another person. On Jan. 4, during a hearing in federal court, U.S. Magistrate Judge Embry Kidd, of U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, ordered Albert to be detained until trial, reports the Tallahassee Democrat.

According to the criminal complaint, the FBI received a tip on Dec. 16 warning agents about a threat made several days earlier on Discord, an instant messaging and social media platform popular among video gamers and members of the far right.

The post, written by someone using the moniker “BloodStainedSand#0088,” consisted of a photo of an AR-15 or similar rifle along with a caption reading: “600 W. College Ave. Tallahassee, FL 32306” — which is Florida State University’s main address — “At 13:00 December 17, 2022 100 F*****s Will Die, Cya there!”

The FBI traced the post to Albert, who attended Full Sail University in Winter Park, and his apartment outside Orlando. Agents interviewed the apartment manager and Albert’s roommate, and those interviews “revealed a history of violence and a pattern of concerning behavior by Albert,” according to court documents.

“In particular it is assessed that Albert has rapidly progressed from making controversial statements online, to confrontation with classmates and peers in online spaces, as well as direct confrontation with people outside of his university,” the complaint filed against Albert says.

FBI agents said they met Albert when he arrived at Orlando International Airport on New Year’s Day while returning from a trip to Washington, D.C. Albert agreed to be interviewed, and upon questioning, allegedly admitted to posting the threat, using a photo he had found on Reddit, according to court documents.

“During the interview, Albert was asked why he thought he was being interviewed,” the complaint says. “After providing three possibilities of why the FBI would want to speak with him (none of which involved illegal activity), Albert responded that it was probably because ‘[he] made a post online that may be perceived as a mass shooting threat.’

“Albert was asked to explain his mindset when he posted the threat and whether he understood that posting that type of content is in violation of federal law,” the complaint continues. “Albert responded that he did not believe his post was illegal, stating that the post was meant to be ‘ironic,’ ‘satirical,’ and ‘a joke.'”

The FBI said Albert acknowledged listing Florida State University’s main address in the post, and when asked why he included it, he said the reason was because it would generate the most reaction from the other users on Discord, which he acknowledged was filled with “extreme controversial ideology and potentially other illegal content.”

During the course of the investigation, agents also discovered previous threats made by Albert against Blacks and Jews. For example, Albert previously made statements including “Kill all joggers,” an alleged coded reference to Black people, which may stem from the 2020 shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery, who was chased and eventually shot by three white men after he went jogging through their neighborhood.

Albert also previously posted, “Tear gas a synagogue,” a reference to Jews. He also posted a slur referring to gay people, writing: “a genocide … NEEDS to happen not even a question.”

Albert was reportedly interviewed by the FBI at least once, in April 2021, though no details of that interview were included in the complaint.

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