Vet unhappy with health care indicted for threatening congressman, staff

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President Donald Trump announced he will replace his Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin with Ronny Jackson, who currently is the president’s physician
USA TODAY

Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-Ventnor, and two staffers were the targets of threats by a disgruntled veteran, a federal indictment alleged Thursday.(Photo: Courier-Post file photo)

CAMDEN, N.J. — A veteran unhappy with his health care was indicted Wednesday on charges of threatening to kill a South Jersey congressman and two members of his staff.

Joseph Brodie of Millville allegedly made the threats in September after a series of “agitated demands” to the office of U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo, according to the federal indictment.

Brodie described one threat in a text to a female acquaintance, saying “I’m pretty sure the secret service are going to investigate,” the indictment asserted.

“I’m filling the sandbags now to have a bunker by my house. I’m not going down without a fight,” the Sept. 19 text continued, according to the indictment.

Brodie, 38, was arrested one day later by New Jersey State Police troopers conducting a well-being check at his home.

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Brodie, described as having post-traumatic stress disorder, allegedly walked from his home carrying an assault rifle. He knelt, put the barrel in his mouth and pulled the trigger three times, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for New Jersey.

The gun was not loaded and Brodie was taken into custody.

At the time of his arrest, authorities said Brodie had vowed a “bloodbath” that would take the lives of everyone at LoBiondo’s Mays Landing office, including the Republican congressman.

According to the indictment, Brodie received services from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs from January 2011 until his arrest.

It says Brodie “became increasingly dissatisfied with the level of care that he received from the VA and began contacting members of (LoBiondo’s) staff to report his dissatisfaction.”

The indictment says Brodie asked for LoBiondo to “use his official position” on his behalf.

On Sept. 15, Brodie allegedly sent an email to an unidentified LoBiondo staffer, with a subject line indicating it was meant for the congressman.

“F- you,” the email read in part, according to authorities. “My next message is a ‘FIX THE VA’ shirt to your family and office.”

On Sept. 19, the indictment says, Brodie used “verbally aggressive language” in a call to LoBiondo’s chief of staff, Jason Galanes.

Galanes, who also serves as LoBiondo’s spokesman, declined to comment.

Brodie emphasized in the call that staff members’ personal information, including addresses, could be found online, the indictment says. It alleges Brodie ended the call by saying, “You’re a dead man,” and hanging up.

In an email to the congressman’s office later that day, Brodie said, “I’d love to have that face to face with (LoBiondo),” the indictment asserts.

The email, with an attached map, referred to a computer program that offered satellite imagery of LoBiondo’s office.

“See where your office is and how easy it is to find?” Brodie allegedly asked.

“It even shows the environment and surrounding terrain, parking lots,
wooded areas, etc., (like the kind a highly trained Combat Infantryman
would use) …”

The indictment charges Brodie with two counts of making threats to officials, officers and employees of the United States.

It does not name the people who were threatened, but Galanes has previously said Brodie targeted LoBiondo’s office.

LoBiondo, a Republican from Ventnor, is retiring in January after serving 12 terms in the 2nd District. It covers all or parts of eight counties: Atlantic, Cumberland, Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Cape May, Ocean and Salem.

Follow Jim Walsh on Twitter: @jimwalsh_cp

 

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Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/03/29/vet-unhappy-health-care-indicted-threatening-congressman-staff/471817002/

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