A suburban Chicago man has been arrested for allegedly "threatening to commit violence" during the upcoming presidential inauguration, accused of stating in a voicemail plans to "kill any [expletive] Democrat" that steps on the White House lawn, according to a criminal complaint.
Louis Capriotti, a 45-year-old from Chicago Heights, was charged with transmitting a threat in interstate commerce, the U.S Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Illinois announced.
Capriotti was arrested near his home Tuesday morning and is scheduled to appear in court at 3:30 p.m., officials said.
The criminal complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago, alleges that in a Dec. 29 voicemail for a U.S. House member from New Jersey, Capriotti stated that if certain individuals “think that Joe Biden is going to put his hand on the Bible and walk into that [expletive] White House on Jan. 20, they’re sadly [expletive] mistaken.”
“We will surround the [expletive] White House and we will kill any [expletive] Democrat that steps on the [expletive] lawn,” the complaint states.
According to the complaint, Capriotti left several "disturbing, anonymous messages" on the voicemail systems of multiple members of Congress between Oct. 3, 2019 and Jan. 29, 2020 and again from February through December. Authorities also believe he may have left similar messages from a different number between 2017 and 2019.
The alleged "messages, in almost every instance, included profanity, along with derogatory remarks concerning the race, religion, political affiliation, or physical appearance of certain members and others," the complaint states.
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Officials said the FBI interviewed Capriotti in February 2020 and he admitted to making calls and leaving voicemails but said he "didn't mean any ill will." They told him to stop making such calls, but Capriotti continued to leave such voicemails in the months following, the complaint alleges.
In one of the messages left in November, the caller referred to himself as "a nine-year Marine, active duty" and said he has “killed” several “terrorists” in prior wars and that he “will continue to kill them because that’s what I am trained to do.” The complaint alleges he also stated “in the next couple weeks, some big news is about to go down” and that certain individuals “are going to be astonished of what’s going to be revealed."
“Our office takes the security of our public servants very seriously,” U.S. Attorney John Lausch said in a statement. “Individuals who cross the line of free speech by making unlawful threats will be held accountable.”
It was not immediately clear if Capriotti had an attorney.
The announcement of the arrest comes less than one week after thousands breached the U.S. Capitol in a violent, deadly riot. The FBI has been warning of more unrest ahead of Inauguration Day.