- Associated Press - Friday, February 20, 2015

KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) - A former Michigan man arrested in northwestern Montana is charged with making a series of online threats to schools and religious leaders.

David Joseph Lenio, formerly of Grand Rapids, Michigan, was arrested near Whitefish on Monday and was charged in Flathead County Justice Court Thursday with intimidation and criminal defamation. He did not enter a plea and was being assigned a public defender. His bail was set at $500,000 and his District Court arraignment is scheduled for March 19.

As Lenio was led into the Kalispell courtroom he yelled “free Palestine” and told people to visit his YouTube page to learn the “truth” about the 9/11 attacks and the 2011 shooting of former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, the Flathead Beacon reported.

Lenio’s father, reached at his Grand Rapids home Tuesday night, declined requests from The Grand Rapids Press for comment.

Jonathan Hutson, the spokesman for the Brady Campaign and Center to Prevent Gun Violence, spotted Lenio’s tweets late Saturday and alerted the FBI early Sunday.

The tweets included a series of messages from Jan. 12-15 complaining about his low salary and homelessness and suggesting he could best make his point with a school shooting or by killing Jewish leaders.

On Monday, a Kalispell police officer contacted Lenio, who acknowledged sending the messages and said he was “trying to bring attention to certain issues,” court records said.

Later, officers spoke with Lenio’s roommate, who said Lenio had brought rifles and ammunition from a storage unit to their residence on Sunday. A search turned up two rifles in Lenio’s bedroom and a pistol in his vehicle.

Lenio was arrested when he returned to his vehicle after snowboarding at Whitefish Mountain Resort.

Police Chief Roger Nasset said the fact that Lenio had moved guns to his house was what took the threat to the “next level” and led to his arrest.


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