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OREM — An Orem man was charged Wednesday with threatening to shoot YouTube employees from his car as they walked out of their office.
David Levon Swanson, 35, is charged in 4th District Court with making a terroristic threat, a second-degree felony.
Between Sept. 5 and April 30, Swanson "made a series of death-threatening online posts directed at YouTube and their work campus of 2,000-3,000 employees in San Bruno, California, in an attempt to 'intimidate or coerce a civilian population,'" according to charging documents.
Those threats included a message that said he would "shoot employees from his car as they came out," police say. Other messages said, "The only thing that comes after the death of YouTube is a funeral for all the executives that were rightfully murdered," and "Google, amazon, facebook, twitter … all very happy to kill themselves, by falling for leftist ideology (religion). Their only hope of not getting their executive teams slaughtered (by gun) is to clean up their act and start following the spirit of the US Constitution," according to the charges.
Other messages from Swanson said, "I'm not saying YouTube employees need to die, but I know they are at least as evil as any Of the worst groups in history because their hearts are evil and they happen to be wielding the weapon of the power of speech. They won't last much longer," as well as, "When I visit your campus in two weeks I'll be able to shoot any employees exiting, from the convenience of my car, because the First Amendment allows me a right to do so," the charges state.
Police said they took action, particularly because of the shooting at YouTube's headquarters that injured three people on April 3 by a woman who had posted online threats.
When questioned by investigators, Swanson claimed that by "shoot" he meant "film," according to the charges.
"During further questioning of Swanson about the criminal nature of these threats, he admitted he had just returned the week before (first week in May 2019) from the Bay Area, near San Bruno, for an LDS Church baby blessing ceremony. He further admitted that he had traveled with his handgun 'just for protection,'" the charges state.
Swanson has a minor criminal history in Utah, according to court records.