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Kids' Book Illustrator Charged With Leaving Notes Saying Trans People Would Shoot Children

Kids' Book Illustrator Charged With Leaving Notes Saying Trans People Would Shoot Children

Downtown Juneau, Alaska, and book cover

Mitchell Watley is accused of posting notes around Juneau, Alaska, with images of a trans flag and rifle and the text “Feeling cute. Might shoot some children.”

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A children’s book illustrator who lives in Juneau, Alaska, is accused of leaving notes around the capital city suggesting transgender people would shoot children, and now he’s been arrested and charged with second-degree terroristic threatening.

The notes, the size of a business card, include images of the transgender flag and an assault rifle with the text “Feeling cute. Might shoot some children,” the Anchorage Daily News reports. They were found over the past few days at a Juneau supermarket, the State Office Building, and a Costco store.

Juneau police arrested Mitchell Watley, 47, on Sunday, after reviewing security camera footage from one of the sites that police said showed him posting a note. Watley told police he was “in fear” because of the recent school shooting in Nashville, in which the shooter, now dead, was said to have been transgender.

Watley has illustrated several children’s books, including the popular title I Would Tuck You In.

The charge of second-degree terroristic threatening is a Class C felony and carries a sentence of up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of $50,000.

Some parents removed their children from school after the first notes were found Friday, the Daily News reports. Schools took additional security measures, such as posting police officers on campuses over the weekend.

At a court hearing Monday, to which Watley phoned in from jail, Assistant District Attorney Rexene Finley said he posed a threat to both children and trans people. “We have the right to live free of violence and free of fear,” she said, according to the Daily News. Friday was Transgender Day of Visibility.

Finley and Judge Kirsten Swanson agreed that Watley could be released on bond as he awaits trial and that he would be electronically monitored. He is barred from areas with concentrations of children.

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Trudy Ring

Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.
Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.