Congress

Man who threatened to shoot Ilhan Omar pleads guilty

Patrick Carlineo Jr., of Addison, N.Y., faces 10 years in prison and $250,000 fine

The man who threatened to shoot Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., pleaded guilty on Monday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A New York man who threatened in March to shoot Rep. Ilhan Omar in the head pleaded guilty in federal court for threatening to assault and murder a U.S. official and being a felon in possession of firearms.

Patrick Carlineo Jr., of Addison, New York, faces a maximum of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine or both. Carlineo entered his plea Monday in U.S. District Court in the Western District of New York in Rochester.

On March 21, Carlineo called Omar’s congressional office in Washington and one of her staffers answered the phone.

“Do you work for the Muslim Brotherhood? Why are you working for her, she’s a (expletive) terrorist,” Carlineo said to the staffer. “Somebody ought to put a bullet in her skull,” Carlineo said. “Back in the day, our forefathers would have put a bullet in her (expletive).”

The staff member said Carlineo said, “I’ll put a bullet in her (expletive) skull.”

The threat against Omar was referred to the Capitol Police’s Threat Assessment Section, which worked in conjunction with the FBI.

Omar wrote today in a letter to Judge Frank Geraci, Jr., the chief judge of the district court, to ask for compassion in Carlineo’s sentencing, and to express that she doesn’t think he would be served by a severe prison sentence or large fine. She also acknowledged how dangerous the threat was.

“That his threat of violence relied on hateful stereotypes about my faith only makes it more dangerous. This was not just a threat against me as an individual—it was a threat against an entire religion, at a time of rising hate crimes against religious minorities in our country,” Omar wrote.

“The answer to hate is not more hate; it is compassion,” she added.

Carlineo was found on April 5 with a .45 caliber handgun, three rifles, two shotguns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition in his home. Due to a 1998 criminal mischief conviction, he was not legally allowed to have those firearms.

“The First Amendment right to freedom of speech carries with it the responsibility that individuals not make threats to harm lawmakers simply because they may disagree with them,” said U.S. Attorney James Kennedy, Jr. “The Second Amendment right to bear arms carries with it the responsibility that individuals who desire to possess firearms not commit felony crimes.”

Carlineo hates people he sees as radical Muslims in U.S. government and further believed that Omar supports Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, the Department of Justice said. The charges were based on Carlineo making the threats to retaliate against Omar based on her performance of official duties as a member of Congress, the Department said. 

Carlineo will be sentenced on Feb. 14, 2020.

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