A 19-year-old Maryland man is accused of threatening to kill prominent liberal U.S. Senators Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris and of threatening to harm attendees at the D.C. “March for Our Lives” gun control rally, court documents show. Nicholas Bukoski, of Crofton, Maryland, was indicted on several federal charges in April while already behind bars on state charges. Bukoski is accused in separate cases of an armed robbery at a convenience store and of an arson spree in Anne Arundel County, according to court records.
Nick Bukoski has been in jail without bail since April on the Maryland state charges and could face decades in prison if convicted of those crimes. He could also face several years in federal prison on the threat charges. The case against Bukoski was unsealed on June 8 after Bukoski made his first federal court appearance. He was processed and returned to the Anne Arundel County jail. The federal charges were first made public by Politico.
Prosecutors, in asking a judge to have Bukoski held until trial, wrote, “The defendant’s history and characteristics also support pretrial detention. The defendant is unemployed and spends most of the day watching Fox News or on the internet.”
Here’s what you need to know about Nicholas “Nick” Bukoski:
1. Bukoski Said He Sent Threatening Messages Because ‘He Was Frustrated With Liberals & Very Supportive of the Current President,’ but Said He Couldn’t Get a Gun Because of Maryland’s Gun Laws
Nicholas Bukoski was indicted on five felony charges on April 11, including two counts of threatening to murder a member of Congress and three counts of transmitting threats in interstate commerce. The indictment names the targets of the murder threats as Senator Bernie Sanders, of Vermont, and Senator Kamala Harris, of California, who are both prominent liberals who could be presidential candidates in 2020. The indictment also accuses Bukoski of communicating a threat “to injure the person of another, namely to injure participants in the ‘March for Our Lives’ demonstration in support of stricter gun laws, with the knowledge that the communication would be viewed as a threat.”
The alleged threats were made prior to Bukoski being arrested on state arson and robbery charges in unrelated cases.
You can read the indictment below:
The March for Our Lives rally, led by survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, was held March 24 in Washington, D.C. and was attended by thousands. The threats against the rally and the senators were all made on March 24. The indictment does not provide further details about the threats, including where they were made and what was said. But prosecutors detailed the accusations in a court document filed on June 13 asking the judge to order Bukoski detained until trial.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Brenda Johnson wrote in the memo that Bukoski first sent an Instagram message to Senator Bernie Sanders’ office, writing, “Senator, I would watch your back as you’re out today. You wouldn’t want to be caught off guard when I use my second amendment protected firearm to rid the world of you, you stupid, crazy old fool.”
He then sent a message to Harris’ office, saying “You f*cking b*tch, I am going to make sure you and your radical lefty friends never get back in power you will never run for president, because you won’t make it to see that day.”
Bukoski also sent former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot during an event in Arizona in 2011, an Instagram message saying, “Mam, I would kindly ask you to stop your radical, left wing, gun-grabbing ways, for your own safety … It would be a shame to see you get hurt.”
Bukoski’s final message was sent to the D.C. Metropolitan Police tip line via text message. Prosecutors say he wrote, “I am intending to send the message that gun control, bomb control, or any other kind of weapons control will not stop attacks, it is an issue of the heart. My heart is messed up and evil, and part of me wants to see people suffer, goddammit. Anyway, good luck and Godspeed finding my presents. This will be my only message.” Investigators said they believe “presents” referred to explosive devices. You can read the prosecutors’ memo below:
Police tracked that text message to Bukoski’s parents’ home about 30 miles outside of Washington in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. According to court documents, Bukoski’s father allowed them to enter and investigators found the teen inside. Bukoski appeared to be nervous and told the officers he had studied “police tactics,” and asked if the bomb squad would be coming, prosecutors said. Bukoski was handcuffed and taken to a local hospital for an evaluation. While there, he admitted to making the threats and said he did so because, “he was frustrated with liberals and very supportive of the current president.”
He told investigators he didn’t have access to a gun. He said that was because his parents wouldn’t buy him one because of his unspecified history and because Maryland’s strict gun laws would prevent him from being able to buy one himself, according to the court filing. “I don’t want to kill people unless I absolutely need to,” he told investigators.
Investigators seized two journals written by Bukoski, and searched his laptop and cellphone. According to the prosecutor’s memo, Bukoski looked up how to contact Sanders and searched for the “Threatening government officials of the United States” Wikipedia page. He had also visited websites about murders, serial killers and murders of police officers (his Twitter page expresses his support of police officers and outrage about protests against officers).
Bukoski told police he wanted to be arrested because he had committed other crimes and got away with them. He also said he did not make any explosive devices, because he is “not as smart as the Boston Bombers or the guy in Austin.”
The indictment had been sealed until Bukoski was taken into custody by federal agents. He was being held in state jail at the time, but prosecutors argued in a court filing that if the warrant was released before his arrest, it could complicate their efforts to take him into custody.
“Once the bench warrant issues, law enforcement will begin to investigate ways in which to secure the arrest of the defendant. The public disclosure of this Indictment at this time could jeopardize future plans to secure the Defendant’s arrest, because such disclosure could result in alerting the defendant of the warrant. Concern for the need to apprehend the defendant constitutes a legitimate prosecutorial reason, and thus an appropriate basis, for an Order sealing the Indictment and Bench Warrant,” U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu wrote.
Bukoski was taken into custody on June 8 and transported to D.C. He made his first court appearance that same day before Magistrate Judge Robin Meriweather and the case was unsealed. According to court records, Bukoski was transferred back into the custody of Anne Arundel County after appearing in federal court.
Bukoski has tweeted at Sanders in the past. In July 2016, he tweeted at the then-presidential candidate, “@BernieSanders you are so blind to the truth. Liberal politicians gave up on our troops, and look what happened! Who’s#feelingtheBern now?” In April 2017, he tweeted, ” @BernieSanders That’s coming from someone who owns multiple homes and has a sweet book deal😒” That was in reply to a Sanders tweet stating, “How many yachts do billionaires need? How many cars do they need? Give us a break. You can’t have it all.”
He is being represented by the federal public defender’s office, court records show. Bukoski’s attorney in the robbery case did not immediately return a request for comment. Sanders and Harris have also not commented. A detention hearing was scheduled for June 13. In a court order, Meriweather said, “all medication and medical instructions shall be transported with the defendant and will be returned when is returned at the conclusion of the detention hearing and local booking process.”
2. He Was Accused of Robbing a 7-Eleven With a Knife in January & Was Arrested in That Case in April
Bukoski was arrested by the Anne Arundel County Police Department on April 11, 2018, in connection to a January 11, 2018, armed robbery at a convenience store, according to a press release from the police department. The robbery occurred at the 7-Eleven, 1044 Route 3, in Gambrills about 2:30 a.m.
Police said Bukoski entered the business and showed a knife before demanding money. ” The clerk complied and the suspect fled from the area toward the northbound side of Route 3. Officers searched the area with the assistance of the police K9 unit however were unable to locate the suspect. No injuries were reported as a result of this incident,” police said in the press release.
“Through investigative efforts, detectives were able to develop a suspect in this robbery. A search warrant was executed at the suspect’s residence and he was taken into custody. The suspect has been charged with armed robbery and related offenses. He is currently being held on no bond at the Jennifer Road Detention Center,” the Anne Arundel County Police said.
Bukoski was charged with armed robbery, second-degree assault, reckless endangerment, possession of a dangerous weapon, theft of $100 to under $1,500 and robbery, online records show. The case is still pending in Maryland state court.
3. Bukoski Set Several Fires to Dumpsters, Sheds & at Construction Sites in Anne Arundel County During a Nearly Yearlong Spree, Police Say
Nicholas Edward Bukoski was charged in May 2018 in connection to an arson spree in Anne Arundel County that lasted nearly a year, the Capital Gazette reported. Bukoski is accused of setting fires in the Crofton and Gambrills area during the spring of 2017, targeting dumpsters, trash receptacles, sheds and construction sites, according to court documents obtained by the newspaper.
Bukoski was arrested May 12 and charged with first-degree arson and second-degree arson, both felonies, along with related misdemeanors. The Anne Arundel County Fire and Explosives Investigation Unit said Bukoski was identified as the suspect after he set additional dumpster and trash fires in the area of Route 3 and Johns Hopkins Road in Gambrills in January 2018, according to the Capital Gazette. Surveillance video showing the firsts was released to the public by arson investigators and tips led them to Bukoski, authorities said.
He is accused of setting sheds on fire and trying to start a fire at a nursing home construction site. He could face up to 30 years in prison on the first-degree arson charge. Along with that charge, online records show he faces two counts of second-degree arson. He was also charged with attempted malicious burning, attempted second-degree arson, trespassing and four counts of misdemeanor arson to trash containers. He was ordered held without bond.
“The charges resulting from this investigation have removed a dangerous person from the streets before he had the opportunity to cause a serious injury,” Fire Chief Allan C. Graves said in a statement after the arson arrest. “I want to commend the joint efforts of the fire investigators and the detectives from the Anne Arundel County Police in their investigation leading to these charges.”
Like the robbery case, the arson and related charges are still pending in Maryland state court.
4. He Follows & Has Retweeted Several Prominent Figures & Has Tweeted About His Support of Trump
Nicholas Bukoski has posted frequently about politics on his Twitter account, under the name Nick Bukoski and the handle @NBukoski, starting in 2016 during the presidential election. Bukoski follows several prominent conservatives and had retweeted several of them, including Charlie Kirk, Franklin Graham, Tomi Lahren, Dan Bongino, Jack Posobiec, Liz Wheeler and Ryan Fournier, the chairman of Students for Trump. He also retweeted several Republican politicians and officials, including Sarah Sanders, Ronna Romney McDaniel and Donald Trump Jr.
On March 20, he retweeted Wheeler, the host of OANN’s “Tipping Point,” who wrote, “Remember that time liberals told us raising the age to 21 to purchase a gun would stop mass shooters? The Maryland school shooter was 17yo. He got a gun. The age limit didn’t stop him. Know what stopped him? A good guy with a gun.” A day earlier he retweeted Kirk, founder of Talking Points USA, who wrote, “The left pretends to love free speech until you say something they disagree with.” He tweeted, “I’m actually more proud today to be a Republican than I was in this whole Primary process.”
Bukoski also tweeted his own support of Donald Trump during the 2016 election. In July 2016, he wrote, “Congrats to @realDonaldTrump forsecuring the Republican nomination 4 the Presidency! Proud of you sir! Go out there &#MakeAmericaGreatAgain,” and praised Mike Pence’s RNC speech.
After Trump won the election, Bukoski continued tweeting about politics and his support for Trump-led policies. In February 2017, he wrote, “If lives are lost because @realDonaldTrump ‘s immigration ban is blocked, their blood will be on the 9th circuit’s hands.” Also that month he tweeted about Trump’s address to Congress, writing, “Best speech I’ve ever heard @realDonaldTrump give. Inspiring. Hopeful. Visionary. Who else believes in American potential again?”
In July 2016, Bukoski wrote a string of tweets about the ambush shooting attack on several Dallas Police officers. “Shots fired in dallas at a protest. Still a very fluid situation. Officers MIGHT be down. Prayers for safety of all involved. … Still looks like the shooting incident is ongoing in Dallas. Officers have been transported to area hospitals. … This is a creepy scene. Many officers are now inside or about to go inside. The cop cars are out there with all their lights flashing. … Panic. Utter panic. I can’t imagine what it’s really like on the ground in Dallas, but still, this is scary. … My thoughts and prayers are with everyone on the ground. The officers are in a very dangerous situation. Hope it is resolved ASAP.”
In August 2016, he tweeted, “I’m absolutely disgusted with Colin Kaepernick right now. He has so little respect for our country that he is blinded by his own BLM agenda.”
5. Bukoski Says on Facebook He Was Homeschooled, While His Instagram Photos Show Him on a College Search & Working at a Church
Nick Bukoski is from Crofton, Maryland, according to his Facebook page, which does not include many public details about his life. Bukoski wrote in the about section of the page that he was homeschooled. He was living with his father, a software engineer, his mother and his sister at his childhood home at the time of his arrest on the state charges, court records and social media show. A Facebook post from his mother shows that he celebrated his graduation in 2016 at Cornerstone Church.
That summer, he posted a photo on Instagram about working at the church. He wrote, “What. A. Summer. Today was my last day of work, and I can honestly say I did something good with my life this summer. I worked long hours in the brutal heat, but i did it with an awesome group of people. Many thanks to my bosses for this great opportunity! Now, on to college next week.”
Bukoski also posted a photo at Salibsury University in Maryland and said it was his “first college trip,” but on Twitter, he said he was starting school at Anne Arundel Community College in August 2016. His Instagram account features photos in Washington D.C. and at the Maryland State House, along with quotes about God and Christianity.