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Michigan man arrested on firearms charges after allegedly threatening Biden, Whitmer

Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer walks to her seat at a meeting between President Biden and governors from around the country at the White House on Friday. Whitmer and Biden were both mentioned in alleged threats made by a Michigan man arrested on firearms charges.

A Michigan man who allegedly made online death threats against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and President Biden has been charged with unlawfully owning several firearms, documents show.

Randall Robert Berka II, who is about 30 years old, has been charged with possessing a firearm as a prohibited person, but not with making the threats. He hasn't yet entered a plea and has been detained pending a hearing on Wednesday.

Google submitted an online tip to the FBI after Berka allegedly made threatening statements on YouTube under the handle "@killthefeds420," saying he wanted to kill Democrats, LGBTQ+ people, and members of law enforcement.

He allegedly wrote, "im going to kill these democrats biden deserves to die" and that he was "more than willing" to kill Gov. Whitmer, also a Democrat. He also allegedly wrote that LGBTQ+ people need to "die and be genocided."

In a YouTube comment addressed to the FBI, he listed his name and where he lived and challenged law enforcement to try to take his guns.

Investigators went to Berka's house, in Huron County, and spoke with his mother, who said she had purchased a handgun and three long guns for her son in the past year. She said he keeps the guns, as well as ammunition and body armor, in his room at their house.

Berka was involuntarily committed for mental health treatment in 2012, court documents say, and his mental health history is what prohibits him from having a gun. His mother told investigators she didn't think his treatments are working and that he should be arrested and imprisoned.

Other threats against Michigan officials

Berka's arrest comes on the heels of other federal cases including death threats to public officials. On Thursday, a man was indicted on a hate crime charge for threatening to kill "anyone that is Jewish" in Michigan's government, which includes the state's attorney general.

Whitmer herself has faced serious threats in recent years, including a plot by militia members in 2020 to kidnap her.

During the pandemic, Michigan health officials faced threats of violence from people who opposed COVID-19 mandates.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.