A Virginia gay man was arrested by U.S. Capitol Police on Friday for allegedly threatening the life of at least one U.S. senator, according to an arrest affidavit filed by Capitol Police.
Accounts by local media say that although Capitol Police arrested Kyler George Schmitz on Friday, June 24, news of the arrest wasn’t publicly disclosed until Monday, when Schmitz appeared before a judge in Virginia and was ordered held without bond until a follow-up hearing on Tuesday.
Politico reported on Monday that Capitol Police learned about the alleged threats through a tip from a congressional committee staffer who discovered a Twitter message by Schmitz targeting Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). Schmitz reportedly began making the alleged threats a day or two after the shooting rampage at an Orlando, Fla., gay nightclub that claimed the lives of 49 people.
“I’m going to shoot you in the head for allowing someone to murder my loved ones,” Schmitz allegedly said in a tweet directed at Blunt and reported by the congressional staffer.
In other tweets, Schmitz allegedly threatened other House and Senate Republicans, reportedly saying, “I can’t wait to shoot you in the face one by one,” Politico reports.
The arrest affidavit states that two Capitol Police investigators went to Schmitz’s Virginia residence on June 15, and Schmitz reportedly admitted to “purposely” sending the tweet to Blunt, which he reportedly told the investigators was intended as a “direct threat.”
NBC News4 reported on Monday that Paul Cianciolo, who identified himself as Schmitz’s fiancé, told the TV news station that the tweets were meant as “parody” and satire. NBC News4 reported Schmitz’s attorney as saying the messages were “inartful political discourse” on the issue of gun control.
Testimony at the court hearing on Monday revealed that Schmitz doesn’t own a gun, Channel 4 News reported.
Schmitz’s Facebook page includes a photo of Schmitz and Virginia State Sen. Adam Ebbin standing inside the Virginia Senate chambers in Richmond in January. The Facebook page lists Ebbin as one of several local LGBT people who are Facebook friends with Schmitz. Others include Maryland transgender activist Dana Beyer and D.C. gay activist Jose Gutierez.
It couldn’t immediately be determined how Schmitz came to know the activists or whether they were just casual acquaintances as is often the case with Facebook friends.
The Washington Blade is in the process of obtaining court documents in connection with Schmitz’s arrest and will report further details in the case as they become known.