Congress

Ohio author of Facebook post saying AOC ‘should be shot’ arrested on gun charges

Toledo man allegedly told Capitol Police he was very proud of the post

An Ohio man who threatened New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is now under arrest. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

An Ohio man who allegedly told Capitol Police he was proud of a Facebook post suggesting New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez “should be shot” was arrested at his Toledo residence Thursday. 

Timothy James Ireland Jr., 41, was charged in U.S. District Court in Toledo with one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm, one count of being a fugitive in possession of a firearm and one count of making interstate threats.

[Threats against members of Congress are increasing]

The Facebook post was reported by a private citizen on July 23. That same person took a screenshot of the post, which was linked to a news story about Ocasio-Cortez, and sent it to Capitol Police.

“She should be shot,” read the post, in reference to the freshman lawmaker from New York City. “Can’t fire me, my employer would load the gun for me.”

Anika Legrand-Wittich, a spokeswoman for Ocasio-Cortez’s office, said, “We have no comment.”

Ocasio-Cortez and fellow Democratic Reps. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Ayanna S. Pressley of Massachusetts were the target of racist tweets July 14 by President Donald Trump, which has heightened safety concerns for the lawmakers.

When Ireland was asked by Capitol Police Special Agent Lawrence Anyaso about the statement he made on Facebook, he said he was very proud of it, according to an affidavit supporting the criminal complaint. Ireland also said in that telephone interview that he always carries concealed guns, has guns for hunting and everyone knows he has guns, according to the affidavit.

On Aug. 8, Capitol Police and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents executed a search warrant at Ireland’s Toledo home. Law enforcement found seven rounds of ammunition inside two kitchen drawers. Three of the rounds were .32-caliber ammunition and four of them were .45-caliber ammunition.

An FBI criminal history check found that Ireland has two outstanding warrants. One is a felony failure to appear in Sarasota County, Florida, and the second is a misdemeanor failure to appear bench warrant related to a marijuana possession charge in Cook County, Georgia.

Ireland was also convicted in 1996 on four felony counts of dealing stolen property in Sarasota County, Florida. He was arrested on the warrant outstanding in Florida.

“The mission of the United States Capitol Police is to protect the Congress, the U.S. Capitol, and all who work and visit here,” U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven A. Sund said. “I want to thank our special agents for their excellent work in investigating this case as well as our law enforcement partners and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their assistance.”

John T. Bennett contributed to this report. 

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