The First Call Began With 'Fake News.' Then the Threats Came

19-year-old Brandon Griesemer of Mich. arrested after 22 calls over 2 days to CNN's Atlanta headquarters
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 23, 2018 9:20 AM CST
In this Aug. 26, 2014, file photo, security guards walk past the entrance to CNN headquarters in Atlanta.   (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

(Newser) – A Michigan man has been arrested after authorities say he threatened to travel to Atlanta and kill people at CNN headquarters. Federal court documents filed in Michigan say 19-year-old Brandon Griesemer of Novi began calling CNN on Jan. 9, per the AP. He allegedly told a CNN operator in one call, "Fake news. I'm coming to gun you all down." In a second call, he reportedly said: "I am on my way right now to gun the f---ing CNN cast down. ... I am coming to kill you." He allegedly made racist and anti-Semitic comments, too. Altogether, there were 22 calls from two phones over two days. "We take any threats to CNN employees or workplaces, around the world, extremely seriously," CNN said in a statement. "We have been in touch with local and federal law enforcement throughout, and have taken all necessary measures to ensure the safety of our people."

The phone numbers were traced to Griesemer's family. In court documents, an FBI agent says Griesemer had made a threatening call to a local mosque in Ann Arbor in September. Cops traced that call, and a couple of days after the incident Griesemer admitted he'd made the call, in which he was said to have made derogatory remarks about the mosque and Muslims, because he "was angry at the time." In the CNN case, an FBI affidavit says Griesemer made interstate threats by phone, in violation of federal law. A man who said he's Griesemer's father tells the Washington Post that "this whole thing has been a mistake" and that Griesemer doesn't even own guns, adding: "He didn’t know what he was saying, the seriousness of it." Griesemer, a part-time grocery worker, could face a fine or up to five years in prison if convicted. His bail has been set at $10,000.


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