A Westminster man was indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury after allegedly threatening to kill a member of Congress in June.
Darryl Albert Varnum, of the 300 block of Barnes Avenue, was indicted on one felony count of threatening a federal official by the grand jury for the U.S. District of Maryland, according to federal court documents.
The indictment stems from Varnum’s allegedly leaving a voicemail for a member of Congress — identified in a criminal complaint filed in Baltimore’s U.S. District Court only as “United States Congressperson #1” — on June 28.
The Daily Beast, a politics and pop culture news website, identified the member of Congress allegedly threatened as Democratic Florida Rep. Frederica Wilson, but the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland, Wilson’s office and U.S. Capitol Police declined to confirm that reporting.
A transcript of the voicemail available in a criminal complaint filed July 5 in federal court reads:
“I’m gonna kill your a-- if you do that bill. I swear. I will f------ come down and kill your f------ a--. And you’re a Congressperson, that is fine. I hope the f------ FBI, CIA, and everybody else hears this s---. If you’re taking away my rights. This is the United States of America, b----. Get the f--- out. I will come down there and personally f------ kill you. I am dead f------ serious. I wanna see you motherf------ at my door, if you’re legit. That HR bill you just pushed through, ah f--- you. I’ll tell you what I’ll come down to Miami b----. I’ll f--- you up. Like Cubans don’t even know.”
The cell phone number used to record the voicemail belonged to Varnum, according to the complaint, which also noted that Varnum had a .45-caliber Ruger pistol registered to him.
“We take these types of violent threats extremely seriously. The investigation began immediately upon learning of the threats," U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert Hur wrote in an email. “Mr. Varnum was charged federally by criminal complaint and arrested on July 8th.”
The bill referred to in the voicemail may refer to the Vaccinate all Children Act, or H.R. 2527, which would require public schools to vaccinate all students — except for those with a medical exemption — in order to qualify for federal preventive health services grants. Rep. Wilson introduced the bill.
In the criminal complaint filed July 5, Capitol Police note that Varnum posted a “photograph of an American flag and the words ‘H.R. 2527 Vaccinate All Children Act’” on his Facebook page shortly after leaving the voicemail, adding, “Holocaust has begun! I’m done with this bull----. Time to step up or ship out!”
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The complaint also noted that Varnum was employed by Sealing Technologies and had been working as a contractor at the Defense Information Systems Agency at Fort Meade, where his job “requires him to have access to sensitive information.”
Sealing Technologies issued the following statement Thursday night via email: “SealingTech is saddened by this unfortunate situation. This is not reflective of our values or the professionalism we expect from our team. We are cooperating with authorities during this investigation and have no further comment at this time.”
After his arrest on July 8, Varnum was released on July 10 on the condition that he surrender his passport and remain at home and abstain from alcohol until reporting to Shoemaker Center, in Sykesville, where he is to complete a 28-day rehabilitation program, according to federal court documents.
A spokeswoman for Shoemaker Center said the the center would neither confirm nor deny Varnum had reported to the facility for treatment, citing medical privacy laws, though no one at Shoemaker was willing to say so on the record.
In the criminal complaint, Capitol Police cite a 2015 Carroll County Sheriff’s Office report that noted sheriff’s deputies had been called out to Varnum’s home by a family member, and that Varnum told them “Taliban fighters were coming to his house and that he had been drinking vodka.” Varnum cooperated with Carroll Carroll County Sheriff’s deputies at that time and was taken to a hospital for a mental health evaluation.
Varnum’s next court appearance will be Aug. 5, for an “arraignment and detention," at Baltimore’s U.S. District Court, according to Hur.
Varnum’s attorney per federal court records, Assistant Federal Public Defender Brendan Hurson, did not return calls for a comment Thursday. A call placed to Varnum’s cell phone number on record also was not returned.