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Kentucky man charged in social media threat against Gov. Beshear

LOUISVILLE


Federal prosecutors have charged a Kentucky man who had a stockpile of weapons at his home with threatening Kentucky’s governor and state police on social media.

The man, 25-year-old Jeremiah Wooley, apparently made the threats in reference to a social media post about state troopers going to a Kentucky church to enforce social distancing, according to court documents filed in the federal case.

State police arrested Wooley at his home in Kevil last week and charged him with making threats against the governor and state police under a false name. The U.S. Attorney’s office in Louisville announced those charges and a federal firearms charge against Wooley on Tuesday.

Investigators found about a dozen firearms at Wooley’s home, including what federal agents described as “assault-style rifles,” a .50-caliber rifle and a bucket of 50 hand grenades that were either inert or were made as novelty items. Police said the house also had components to assemble the grenades, including black powder.

Federal court files said Wooley made the social media posts in mid-April. According to an affidavit by an agent from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, Wooley was responding to a YouTube video posted on Facebook about state police visiting a Kentucky church to enforce social distancing practices. Beshear has banned mass gatherings, including in-person church services in the state, though that ban is being lifted later this month.

A person who identified himself as “Nick Sample” replied to the post with threats against Beshear and state police, saying “I would shoot them … in their face,” according to court records. Later, the same person wrote, “Anybody think about maybe going and visiting the governor at his house.”

Investigators traced the Facebook account through an IP address to Wooley’s home in Kevil. State police arrested him there on April 29 on a charge of terroristic threatening. He had two handguns on him at the time of the arrest. Wooley was listed as being held in McCracken County Jail on Tuesday, according to online records.

The U. S. Attorney’s office in Louisville said Wooley is also facing a federal charge of possessing an unregistered firearm, which carries a maximum 10-year sentence.

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