A 19-year-old Connecticut woman has been charged with falsely threatening to carry out a suicide bombing and mass shooting at Gateway Community College in New Haven, including sending a text message that said: "I want people dead."
U.S. Attorney David Fein charged in a federal complaint that Amanda Bowden, of East Haven, "made a series of threats that described in great detail her intention to carry out a suicidal mass murder" at the college, according to an FBI statement.
In one text to a friend, she allegedly warned: "The whole damn place is going down."
Gateway college officials said Bowden, who was charged in federal court on Wednesday, is not a student at Gateway and has no apparent links to the school, The Hartford Courant reported.
The college said in a statement that they were kept apprised by the FBI of the alleged threats and "were told that there was no imminent danger."
Bowden was arraigned in U.S. District Court in Bridgeport on one count of false information and hoaxes, a felony offense that has a maximum penalty of five years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine.
The federal complaint charged that Bowden first discussed her alleged intentions this month with a friend with whom she had had an intimate relationship. The complaint accused Bowden of subsequently stalking that person through a series of text messages and e-mails that included the alleged threats against the college.
Among the text messages she allegedly sent:
- "Shooting things is one of the few ways I have fun."
- "i've always wanted to shoot up a mall"
- "I'm killing myself though."
- "If Im going to commit suicide might as well take people down with me who made me miserable"
- "The people the whole damn place is going down"
- "I was pissed when the sandy hook happened lol"
- "Cuz I wanted to be the next big one"
- "I want people dead" "not injured"
- "they will die"
The friend notified the FBI, which arranged for an undercover officer to get in touch with Bowden online.
She allegedly discussed with the undercover officer the Sandy Hook shootings in nearby Newtown, Conn., in which 26 people, including 20 children, were killed in December at a school.
The complaint charged that Bowden praised Newtown shooter Adam Lanza for the killing spree and wanted to one-up him, The Courant reported.
Bowden also allegedly claimed to possess firearms and to have built at least two napalm-based bombs at her residence, according to the complaint, although a search of her home did not turn up any explosives.
She later told authorities she was only pretending to plan an attack, according to the complaint, which states she claimed to have been "seeking to be accepted by the people with whom she was exchanging text messages," the New Haven Independent reported.
Doug Stanglin, USA TODAY