POLITICS

Feds Charge Instagram Troll In Targeting Of Parkland Victims' Families

The Californian allegedly told FBI agents he used Instagram to "taunt and troll the victims and gain popularity."

WASHINGTON ― A California man is facing federal charges for allegedly using Instagram to threaten to kidnap and harass friends and family members of the victims of last year’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Brandon Fleury, of Santa Ana, made a “series of threatening and harassing posts” between Dec. 22 and Jan. 11 through Instagram by “mentioning” Instagram accounts used by friends and relatives of Parkland victims, federal authorities allege in the criminal complaint. “One post threatened to kidnap the message recipients, while others sought to harass the recipients by repeatedly taunting the relatives and friends of the victims, cheering the deaths of their loved ones and, among other things, asking them to cry.”

Fleury, according to an FBI agent’s affidavit, admitted to creating at least some of the Instagram profiles to “taunt and troll the victims and gain popularity.” He allegedly told federal agents during a Jan. 16 search of his home that he targeted family members who were “activists” with large social media presences. 

The affidavit in support of the criminal complaint indicates that individuals referred to as “JG,” “FG,” and “LS” ― the brother, father and best friend of a Parkland victim referred to as “Jamie,” reported the harassment, as well as “MS,” the father of another student killed. (Jaime Guttenberg, 14, was one of the 17 people killed in the Feb. 14, 2018, massacre. Her father, Fred, has become a prominent activist against gun violence and approached Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh at his confirmation hearing.)

One of the handles Fleury allegedly used was @nikolas.killed.your.sister, which referred to Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz. Some of Fleury’s alleged Instagram posts included “I killed your loved ones hahaha,” “I gave them no mercy,” “They had their whole lives ahead of them and I fucking stole it from them,” a message followed by three “crying while laughing” emojis. Cruz is awaiting trial in Broward County, Florida.

Fleury allegedly told agents he had a “fascination” with Cruz as well as other mass killers, including Ted Bundy. They said Fleury “did not show remorse for posting the comments, but explained he would not follow through on the threats he communicated.”

Fleury is charged with transmitting a threat to kidnap a person by way of interstate commerce and using a computer service with the intent to harass and intimidate another person.

The complaint is embedded below. 

CONVERSATIONS