A federal judge on Monday found probable cause that a Florida man arrested in Orlando on Sept. 3 by the FBI for allegedly making online threats to carry out a Pulse nightclub type shooting against LGBT people in South Florida appears to have committed the offense.
At a Sept. 12 preliminary hearing in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida in Orlando, Judge Gregory Kelly ruled that prosecutors presented sufficient evidence that Craig Allen Jungwirth, 50, violated a federal statute by threatening to injure others through an interstate commerce communication.
“On the evidence presented at the preliminary hearing, I find that there is probable cause to believe that the offenses charged…have been committed and the defendant committed them,” Kelly said in a written finding.
The probable cause finding means sufficient evidence exists to bring the case to trial.
Kelly ordered that Jungwirth remain in custody and be transferred to the jurisdiction of the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Florida in Fort Lauderdale, where his threats allegedly were directed.
An FBI arrest affidavit says that on Aug. 30 Jungwirth allegedly posted a series of threatening messages on Facebook that targeted LGBT people in Wilton Manors, a small city next to Fort Lauderdale with a large concentration of LGBT residents.
“None of you deserve to live,” the arrest affidavit quotes one of Jungwirth’s Facebook postings as saying. “If you losers thought the Pulse nightclub shooting was bad, wait until you see what I’m planning for Labor Day,” the affidavit quotes the posting as saying.
The affidavit quoted another posting as saying “since you faggots aren’t dying of AIDS anymore, I have a better solution to exterminate you.”
The affidavit says the Wilton Manors Police Department notified the FBI of the threatening Facebook postings and informed the FBI and the Florida State Police that Jungwirth was a past Wilton Manors resident “who had previously been the subject of numerous complaints involving the harassment and stalking of Wilton Manors residents.”
It states that Jungwirth had been living at his mother’s residence in Orlando at the time of his arrest and that FBI investigators subpoenaed records from Facebook that showed the threatening posts were made from an Internet account registered at his mother’s address.
Jungwirth’s preliminary hearing was originally scheduled for Sept. 6. Court records show it was cancelled after Jungwirth complained of chest pains and was taken to a hospital. The records don’t disclose the nature of his medical condition as found at the hospital, but they show he was deemed fit to return to court for the rescheduled hearing on Sept. 12.
The public court records as of late Tuesday didn’t show whether a follow-up court hearing had been scheduled in federal court in Fort Lauderdale and when Jungwirth was expected to be taken there by federal marshals as ordered by Judge Kelly.