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Kansas Man Arrested for Threatening to Shoot Up, Bomb Nashville Pride

Kansas Man Arrested for Threatening to Shoot Up, Bomb Nashville Pride

Nashville Pride

He said he would “make shrapnel pressure cooker bombs for this event” and that he was going to “commit a mass shooting.”

@wgacooper

Tennessee prosecutors have indicted a man over online threats he allegedly made targeting Nashville Pride with violence.

Authorities on Tuesday announced they had charged Joshua Hensley, also known as Josh Echo, with two counts of transmitting an interstate threat related to the upcoming Nashville Pride event this weekend.

The 25-year-old was arrested last Thursday at his home in Hoisington, Kan. A hearing in the case is set for Friday.

The indictment states that on April 26, Hensley posted several comments on Nashville Pride’s Facebook page. He said he would “make shrapnel pressure cooker bombs for this event” and that he was going to “commit a mass shooting.”

“We will not tolerate hate-based, threats of violence designed to intimidate Tennesseans,” said U.S. Attorney Henry Leventis in a press release. “We will continue to work with our partners at the FBI to ensure that the civil rights of all persons are protected.”

Hensley faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count if he is convicted.

The case is being investigated by the FBI, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Nani M. Gilkerson of the Middle District of Tennessee and Trial Attorney Kyle Boynton of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division are prosecuting the case, according to the release.

Last week's arrest comes as Pride organizers across the country are on heightened alert due to concerns of violence against LGBTQ+ people. The Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBTQ+ rights advocacy group in the country, issued a state of emergency due to the rise of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation being introduced and passed across the U.S.

The Department of Homeland Security recently referred The Advocate to an issued National Terrorism Advisory Bulletin noting that LGBTQ+ communities should be on alert.

“Lone offenders and small groups motivated by a range of ideological beliefs and personal grievances continue to pose a persistent threat to the United States,” the bulletin reads. “U.S. critical infrastructure, faith-based institutions, individuals or events associated with the LGBTQIA+-community, schools, racial and ethnic minorities, and government facilities and personnel are likely targets of potential violence.”

In response to the arrest, Nashville Pride said it was working with a private security company and local and federal authorities to ensure the safety of those who are attending the festival and parade this weekend.

“Nashville Pride is aware of the threatening online comment made against the Nashville Pride Festival. Thanks to a swift, coordinated response by the FBI and US Attorney's Office, the individual was apprehended. No credible threat existed or currently exists to the Nashville Pride Parade & Festival,” Nashville Pride board member and media coordinator Brady Ruffin told The Advocate in a statement.

Ruffin explained that safety measures for this weekend include the festival portion of the weekend being in a fenced area, bags being checked at entrances, and security being present. Firearms and other weapons are also banned. Other measures are confidential for optimal safety.

“We look forward to creating a safe and secure space for the LGBTQ+ community to be authentically and vulnerably themselves this weekend at the Nashville Pride Parade and Festival,” Ruffin said. “Be Loud. Be Proud. Be You.”

@wgacooper
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