A suburban New York man threatened to attack the 2021 New York City Pride March with "firepower" that would "make the 2016 Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooting look like a cakewalk," federal prosecutors said Monday.
Robert Fehring, 74, of Bayport, New York, allegedly sent at least 60 letters threatening to assault, shoot and bomb LGBTQ-affiliated individuals, organizations and businesses. He was arrested Monday morning and was released later that day on a $100,000 bond.
Fehring was placed on home detention with location monitoring, and he is not permitted to have firearms or other destructive devices. He is also not permitted to have contact with any victims and may not go to certain locations he threatened.
A search of Fehring's home last month turned up photographs from a 2021 Pride event in East Meadow, New York, two loaded shotguns, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, two stun guns and a stamped envelope addressed to an LGBTQ-affiliated attorney containing the remains of a dead bird, federal prosecutors said.
"As alleged, the defendant's hate-filled invective and threats of violence directed at members of the LGBTQ community have no place in our society and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," United States Attorney Breon Peace said.
Forty-nine people were killed, and dozens were injured in the mass shooting Fehring reportedly referenced at Pulse nightclub, an LGBTQ nightclub in Orlando, Florida, in June 2016.
Fehring has reportedly been sending these kinds of threatening letters since at least 2013, according to the unsealed criminal complaint. In them, he threatened the use of firearms and explosives.
Along with the letter threatening the New York City Pride March -- in which he wrote there would "be radio-cont[r]olled devices placed at numerous strategic places" -- the criminal complaint also quoted from a letter Fehring allegedly sent to the organizer of the Pride event in East Meadow.
"[W]e were right there you…FREAK!!! They couldn’t get a shot off at you, slithering around the back stage area like a snake. Too many cops. Very disappointed. But your time has come. ... They are out to KILL you….and your boyfriend. You are being watched. No matter how long it takes, you will be taken out…. high-powered bullet…. bomb….knife…. whatever it takes," the letter said.