AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Officials from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas have released information regarding two Amarillo residents who have been federally charged regarding a series of incidents that occurred earlier this month.
According to a news release, 37-year-old Christopher Stephen Brown was charged with interstate threatening communications after being arrested Wednesday. This comes after Brown allegedly threatened the Chabad Lubavitch organization, a Jewish organization that provides spiritual guidance and assistance to Jewish people.
According to the release, Brown allegedly threatened members of the organization via online messages and voicemail, threatening to kill members of the Beth-Din, a Jewish rabbinical court, and calling for death to all Jews. Under the pseudonym Madrikh Obidiah on a YouTube channel, Brown allegedly also called for the death of the Chabad Lubavitch chairman, the vice-chairman and the founder’s son.
Brown then allegedly left two voicemail messages under the pseudonym, stating that Obidiah would “tear out” the rabbis’ eyes and tongues and kill every rabbi he could find, according to the release. He allegedly placed an additional phone call, threatening to blow the leaders’ heads off.
“Mr. Brown allegedly expressed an intent to commit violent acts toward numerous entities including private citizens, law enforcement and Jewish Rabbis associated with Chabad Lubavitch Headquarters,” FBI Dallas Special Agent in Charge Matthew J. DeSarno said in the release. “Threatening statements are a serious criminal activity with consequences, and the FBI and our law enforcement partners will pursue those who pose a threat to the community when those threats intend to instill fear and potentially cause physical harm.”
On Wednesday, officials stated in the release that law enforcement officials arrived at Brown’s apartment to arrest him. After Brown appeared at the door, agents grabbed Brown after he refused to obey commands. As Brown resisted being put in handcuffs, 28-year-old Rebekah Jones locked arms with Brown to pull him into the bedroom.
As agents were attempting to put handcuffs on Brown, Jones allegedly pointed a gun at an FBI agent, who then grabbed the gun and attempted to point it in a safe direction, according to the release. The agent was then able to free the gun, the release stated. Jones was then arrested and charged with assaulting a federal officer with a deadly weapon.
“Mr. Brown’s anti-Semitic statements were both disgusting and unlawful. The First Amendment may guarantee the right to make hateful remarks, but it does not allow for specific threats of violence against individuals. The circumstances of the defendant’s arrest only reinforce our belief that Mr. Brown poses a serious threat to the community,” U.S. Attorney Chad Meacham said in the release. “We are committed to protecting all of our citizens – especially those who are often persecuted.”
According to the release, Brown faces up to five years in federal prison and Jones faces up to 20 years in federal prison on the charges.