Mar 11, 2023 - Politics & Policy

FBI: Michigan man threatened to "kill anyone who tries to take my guns"

Rifles displayed at a Freddie Bear Sports gun shop. Photo: Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

A Michigan man has been arrested and charged with illegally possessing firearms after repeatedly threatening to kill President Biden, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D), FBI agents and LGBTQ people.

Driving the news: Randall Robert Berka II, 30, was illegally in possession of four firearms, three long guns and a pistol, according to the Department of Justice. With a history of mental illness — including an involuntary stint in a mental institution in 2012 — he wasn't supposed to be able to obtain guns, but his mother purchased several for him.

  • He was also in possession of ammunition and body armor and had been using marijuana every day, federal prosecutors allege.

Details: Berka got on the FBI's radar after making numerous threats on YouTube, where he allegedly made statements such as: "I am willing to kill these people … I’ll kill anyone who tries to take my guns" and "i buy guns though and plot to kill people."

  • Biden, Whitmer, FBI agents and Democrats writ large were frequent targets, with Berka saying they all deserve to die, per the complaint. He also used anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and at one point said he'd use his gun "on a drag show," the DOJ said.
  • The FBI pursued an investigation after Google submitted an online tip about his comments.
  • His mother told the FBI he lived with her and had been voluntarily treated after his time in the mental institution. She had purchased four firearms for Berka within the last year but had become scared of him and believed he needed to be arrested and detained in prison, the complaint noted.

What they're saying: "I applaud Google’s vigilance in this matter, and we hope members of the community will, likewise, pay attention and report such conduct to law enforcement," U.S. Attorney Dawn N. Ison said in a statement.

What's next: Berka faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

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