Tigard man accused of threatening to ‘shoot up’ Sherwood elementary school indicted on federal charge | #computerhacking | #hacking


A Tigard man is now facing a federal charge stemming from what FBI agents said were his emailed messages to federal law enforcement about his desire to kill children at an elementary school in Sherwood.

A federal grand jury has indicted Braeden Richard Riess, 26, on one count of interstate communication of threats.

He’s set to appear in federal court Friday afternoon, about a month after he was charged in Washington County Circuit Court with multiple counts of disorderly conduct in the same case.

The allegations, followed by the mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, are expected to revive a push by some Oregon lawmakers to adopt a stiffer state criminal offense for such threats.

Riess is accused of sending multiple emails May 15 to the FBI’s website threatening to “shoot up’’ Middleton Elementary School because of the agency’s failure to stop “hackers,” according to a federal affidavit and Sherwood police.

One email arrived from an address that contained the words “imbeingserious” and said he was going to attack the school “because of the terrorist hacking that’s taken place,” according to the affidavit.

He referenced multiple times that what he was writing “was not a joke” and blamed hackers and time travelers, according to the affidavit.

The FBI had received earlier emails from Riess, but those didn’t name a specific target or school, the affidavit said, though they did threaten that Riess would walk into a school and kill innocent children. He sent those emails between May 5 and May 13, according the affidavit.

FBI agents arrested Riess at his Tigard apartment on May 16.

He has pleaded not guilty to six counts of first-degree disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor, in Washington County Circuit Court.

When federal agents and Sherwood police went to his apartment, he admitted that he sent the messages to shoot and murder children at the specific school and had posted the messages to the FBI website, according to the affidavit.

He knew the messages would “get their attention,” he told officers, according to the affidavit.

“He claimed he did not intend to carry out the threats but needed to threaten the school because ‘time travelers’ were hacking into his computer,” FBI agent Francisco Rivera wrote in the affidavit.

Riess told agents that “time travelers” were following him and hacking his video games, Rivera wrote.

A relative of Riess’ told investigators that family members had been begging Riess to get mental health treatment and called law enforcement in mid-April to report that Riess was acting suicidal and homicidal and had a gun in the past, the affidavit said.

Another relative said he had taken a gun away from Riess about three to four years ago due to fear that he would harm himself, according to the affidavit.

Riess also was the subject of a complaint to police in October, alleging he had sent a message to a gaming company’s player support inbox threatening to shoot up their office if he didn’t get what he had paid for, the affidavit said. He wrote that he had his guns packed and loaded, according to the affidavit. At that time, the complaint didn’t lead to an arrest. It’s unclear if police made contact with Riess after receiving the complaint.

After his May 16 arrest, police obtained an extreme risk protection order against Riess in Washington County to prevent him from being able to buy a gun.

Riess had been in therapy in the past and taking medication but his mental health has deteriorated since he stopped his medication, family told federal officers, according to the affidavit.

State Rep. Courtney Neron, D-Sherwood/Wilsonville, is planning to introduce a bill in the next session to create a state charge specifically for people making threats of mass harm. It would make the state charge a felony offense and require those convicted to undergo a mental health evaluation, according to Pablo Nieves-Valenzuela, Neron’s legislative director.

“We need to ensure that law enforcement has the appropriate tools to respond to community safety issues,” Neron said. “The bottom line is that current events have shown us that we need to do more to keep our schools and our communities safe from violence.”

She said she plans to discuss the bill’s concept further with police, mental health experts, as well as advocates representing communities frequently targeted with threats of mass violence, including schools, communities of color, and cultural and religious minorities.

State Sen. Tim Knopp, R-Bend, introduced a bill last year that would have added a felony crime of threatening to commit a terrorist act to Oregon’s statutes, but it didn’t pass. Knopp said he plans to reintroduce the bill next year. “We must make a difference on this issue before someone gets a gun and can do immeasurable evil,” he said.

— Maxine Bernstein

Email at mbernstein@oregonian.com; 503-221-8212

Follow on Twitter @maxoregonian





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