Florida man arrested for threats of LGBTQ mass shooting
Federal investigators have arrested a Central Florida man accused of threatening to carry out a mass shooting against at least 100 LGBTQ people at Florida State University.
Sean Michael Albert, 19, was arrested Tuesday by the FBI on charges of sending interstate communication of a threat to injure another person. An Orlando judge on Wednesday ordered the resident of Winter Park, Fla., to be detained until trial.
A criminal complaint filed Jan. 2 by the FBI’s Tampa Field Office alleges the department received a tip on December 16 that an “imminent threat to life” had been posted on the instant messaging and social media platform Discord three days prior by someone using the moniker “BloodStainedSand#0088.”
In a post that included a photo of an AR-15 style rifle and an anti-LGBTQ slur, the user wrote that 100 LGBTQ people “will die” on Dec. 17 at Florida State University.
“Cya there!,” the post read.
Discord provided investigators with the IP address information for the post, which linked to the address listed on Albert’s Florida driver’s license, according to the complaint.
Federal authorities said they learned in interviews with Albert’s apartment manager, roommate and security officer at Full Sail University, where Albert is currently enrolled as a student, that Albert has a “history of violence and a pattern of concerning behavior.”
“In particular, it is assessed that Albert has rapidly progressed from making controversial statements online, to confrontation with classmates and peers in online spaces, as well as direct confrontation with people outside of his university,” the complaint states.
Albert’s Discord username was also tied to previous threats made against Black and Jewish people and had previously written that a “genocide” on LGBTQ people “needs to happen not even a question.”
On Dec. 17, the date on which Albert had threatened to carry out a mass shooting at Florida State University, Albert was hundreds of miles away from Tallahassee in Washington, D.C., according to the complaint.
Investigators approached him upon his return to Orlando International Airport, where Albert during a voluntary interview said he had likely been detained because he “made a post online that may be perceived as a mass shooting threat.”
Albert said the image of the rifle attached to his Discord threat was copied from a Reddit post and he was not in possession of the weapon. He said he made the threat against Florida State University — with a student body topping 33,000 — because he believed the post would get the most attention from others on the Discord server.
In response to inquiries about his motivation and whether he understood that posting violent threats online was a violation of federal law, Albert said he did not believe his Discord post to be illegal, stating that it was meant to be “ironic,” “satirical” and “a joke.”
According to the complaint, Albert had been interviewed by the FBI at least once before, in April 2021, though no additional details were provided.
Online threats made against LGBTQ people in the U.S. have surged over the past year, culminating in real-world violence.
In December, the House Oversight and Reform Committee held a first-of-kind hearing that examined the connection between anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and policies and increasing violence against the community.
–Updated at 12:16 p.m.
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