An Illinois man was arrested Tuesday for making threatening comments to a New Jersey congressman about President-elect Joe Biden’s upcoming inauguration, allegedly saying he will “kill any [expletive] Democrat” who steps on the White House lawn.
Louis Capriotti, 45, who lives in a Chicago suburb, allegedly told the congressman in a Dec. 29 voicemail that if people “think that Joe Biden is going to put his hand on the Bible and walk into that [expletive] White House on January 20th, they’re sadly [expletive] mistaken.”
“We will surround the [expletive] White House and we will kill any [expletive] Democrat that steps on the [expletive] lawn,” he went on to say in the voicemail, according to the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.
Capriotti was arrested Tuesday morning at his home and charged with transmitting a threat in interstate commerce, a federal crime that carries up to a five-year sentence.
“Our office takes the security of our public servants very seriously,” said U.S. Attorney John R. Lausch, Jr., who is prosecuting the case. “Individuals who cross the line of free speech by making unlawful threats will be held accountable.”
Authorities are on high alert ahead of Biden’s inauguration next Wednesday following the U.S. Capitol riots that left five people dead last week. The National Guard is deploying 15,000 troops to Washington, D.C. to provide security for the event.
The FBI has warned of armed protests at all 50 state capitals around Inauguration Day.
The National Park Service announced it is shutting down tours of the Washington Monument through the inauguration “in response to credible threats to visitors and park resources.”
Biden said Monday that he is “not afraid of taking the oath outside” the U.S. Capitol building when he is sworn into office next week.
“It is critically important that there’ll be a real serious focus on holding those folks who engaged in sedition and threatening the lives, defacing public property, caused great damage, that they be held accountable,” the president-elect told reporters.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.