A man who allegedly threatened to shoot and kill reporters at the Boston Globe following its highly publicized effort to promote the free press has been arrested in California, officials say.
Robert Chain, 68, of Encino, was arrested Thursday after an investigation linked him to specific threats against the media outlet, which had called for a nationwide response in newspaper editorials to President Trump’s rhetoric labeling the media “the enemy of the people.”
Federal authorities say Chain left 14 threatening message for the Globe between August 10 and 22. “You’re the enemy of the people, and we’re going to kill every f—ing one of you,” he said in one of the calls, according to a report in CNN. He also allegedly threatened to kill journalists “later today, at 4 o’clock,” prompting police to guard the Globe‘s downtown Boston headquarters. Chain is charged with a count of making a threatening communication in interstate commerce. He is due in court in California today and will eventually appear in federal court in Boston.
“Anyone – regardless of political affiliation – who puts others in fear for their lives will be prosecuted by this office,” Andrew Lelling, U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts, said in a statement Thursday. “In a time of increasing political polarization, and amid the increasing incidence of mass shootings, members of the public must police their own political rhetoric. Or we will.”
The arrest follows a case in which a Massachusetts man accused of sending suspicious powder to political figures including Donald Trump Jr. was arrested and charged with making threats and hoaxes, a man was charged with threatening to bomb a Harvard commencement ceremony for black students, and a man was arrested after threatening to shoot people at rally in Boston.
Threats against journalists have weighed heavily in the minds of reporters everywhere not just because of the troubling way the sitting president talks about the profession, but following a case in July, when a man shot and killed five staffers at an Annapolis newspaper. In the wake of the shooting, police in Boston said they would step up patrols at local media outlets.
“We are grateful to the FBI, the US Attorney’s Office, the Boston Police, and local authorities in California for the work they did in protecting the Globe while threats were coming in, for investigating the source, and for making this arrest. We couldn’t have asked for a stronger response,” Globe spokesman Jane Bowman said in a statement. “While it was unsettling for many of our staffers to be threatened in such a way, nobody — really, nobody — let it get in the way of the important work of this institution.”