Accused Colorado Springs hitman lauded by online extremists calling for copycat attacks: DHS

The suspect, accused of setting fire to an LGBTQ bar in Colorado Springs, Colorado, has been praised by online extremists who have called for mock attacks, according to a public release by the Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday.

“Following the under investigation of a shooting at an LGBTQI+ bar in Colorado Springs, Colorado in late November, we observed actors known to post racial or ethnically motivated extremist content on forums praising the alleged aggressor, most recently the National Terrorism Advisory System. The November newsletter (NTAS) states, “Similarly, some proponents of domestic violence in the United States praised the October 2022 shooting at an LGBTQI+ bar in Slovakia and encouraged more violence. The aggressor in Slovakia issued a statement advocating white supremacist beliefs and admiration for previous aggressors, including those in the United States.”

The NTAS bulletin, brought back by the current Secretary of Homeland Security, is the seventh after the current one expired Wednesday.

“Threat actors have recently turned to violence, citing factors such as reactions to current events and adherence to violent extremist ideologies. In the coming months, threat actors may exploit several upcoming events to justify or perpetrate acts of violence, including midterm-related certifications. Elections, the holiday season and its associated large gatherings, two years after the breach of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, and potential sociopolitical developments linked to ideological beliefs or personal hostility.” “Targets of potential violence include public gatherings, faith-based institutions, the LGBTQI+ community, schools, racial and religious minorities, government facilities and personnel, US critical infrastructure, the media, and perceived ideological dissidents.”

Club Q is open as investigators continue to gather evidence following the November 23, 2022 mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colo.

David Zalubowski/AP

Senior DHS officials reiterated in a conference call with reporters that the threat landscape in the US continues to be “increased”.

The newsletter also talks about threats to the Jewish community and the government’s perception of overreach. He added that the Jewish community “seems particularly targeted” in recent days.

“Some local violencers are voicing complaints based on perceptions that the government is overstepping its Constitutional powers or failing to fulfill its duties,” the bulletin states. “Historically, issues with immigration and abortion have been cited by previous attackers as inspiring violence. Possible changes in border security enforcement policy, an increase in attempts by non-citizens to enter the United States, or other immigration-related developments may increase these calls for violence.”

John Cohen, former acting chief of intelligence at DHS, said the bulletin served as a reminder of the threats facing the country.

“This latest DHS NTAS reflects the dangerous nature of the current threat landscape, which includes mass casualty attacks by lone criminals motivated by a combination of ideological beliefs and personal grievances developed through the consumption of online content,” said Cohen, now an ABC News contributor. “This bulletin is important in keeping the public informed about the threat the United States faces. However, while informing the public is critically important, I am concerned that not enough has been done to truly thwart our investigation and threat reduction efforts. It continues to impact so many communities and families across America. attacks.”

Authorities on the phone cited a man calling her at the home of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, as well as the recent attack on the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, where the suspect allegedly called Pelosi himself.

Threats to midterm elections were “isolated,” according to the bulletin.

“While the violence surrounding the November midterm elections has been in isolation, we remain vigilant that rising political tensions in the country may contribute to individuals turning to violence based on personal grievances,” the bulletin states. “Over the past few months we have observed general calls for violence targeting elected officials, candidates and polling stations.”

Senior officials at the meeting said the ministry was alerted when the conversation crossed the line.

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