Jaydin Ledford, 23, is facing a federal charge after investigators said he threatened to kill law enforcement officials in Washington state. Ledford was allegedly angry after several sheriffs said they would not enforce new gun control measures that voters approved during the November 2018 election.
Jaydin Ledford, from Omak, Washington, posted on February 1 that he would personally shoot and kill sheriffs who would not impose the new law. He also threatened the Spokane County Sheriff in another post that read, “Ozzie Knezovich is gonna get a bullet in his skull.”
Ledford was arrested February 20 in Okanogan County. During an interview with an FBI investigator, he reportedly confessed to making the threats and that he had planned on carrying them out. Ledford will be back in court on February 26.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Criminal Complaint: Jaydin Ledford Admitted to the FBI That He Had Every Intention of Carrying Out the Violence He Wrote About on Facebook
Jaydin Ledford admitted to FBI and Secret Service investigators that he had every intention of carrying out the violence he talked about on social media. The criminal complaint filed in federal court includes details of an interview conducted with Ledford after his arrest on February 20.
After he was read his Miranda rights, Ledford agreed to answer the investigators’ questions. The complaint says that Ledford affirmed: “that he does intend to kill Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich… that he [Sheriff Knezovich] should be in fear… that he wants to hurt cops.” He also confirmed that he was the one who wrote all of the threatening Facebook posts. You can read the entire criminal complaint embedded above.
The complaint notes that investigators also seized items including Ledford’s phone and computer during a search warrant. A forensic examination is ongoing on those items.
Ledford faces a charge of “Threats in interstate commerce.” The specific statute he is being charged with is explained as such: “Whoever transmits in interstate or foreign commerce any communication containing any threat to kidnap any person or any threat to injure the person of another, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.” Ledford was to be assigned a Federal Public Defender.
2. Jaydin Ledford Posted at Least Three Messages Explicitly Threatening the Lives of Law Enforcement Over the Course of a Few Days
Jaydin Ledford came to the attention of law enforcement for writing Facebook posts threatening the lives of law enforcement. He wrote dozens of posts over the course of a few days. A few, in particular, stood out to investigators.
On February 1, Ledford wrote, “I-1639 is law. sheriffs that are non compliant will be shot. by me.”
On February 4, Ledford wrote, “I really want to kill a police officer.” On January 31, he posted a photo that included a handgun and Karl Marx’s “Communist Manifesto.”
Ledford stopped posting after February 5. That was the day that Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich announced that his office was investigating threats that had been made against him and other law enforcement. One of the posts to Ledford’s page read, “Ozzie Knezovich is gonna get a bullet in his skull.”
3. Ledford Posted Angry Messages After Multiple Sheriff’s in Washington State Said They Would Not Enforce New Gun Control Law
Jaydin Ledford appears to have been angered over law enforcement’s reaction to I-1639, which enacts stricter gun control measures. Voters approved the ballot measure with more than 60 percent of the vote during the 2018 midterm election.
Under the rules of the new law, people wanting to buy a semi-automatic weapon have to wait until they are 21 years of age. The minimum age used to be 18. That change took effect on January 1. The following provisions will go into effect on July 1.
I-1639 imposes more thorough background checks on potential gun buyers. Before purchasing a weapon, a buyer must show proof that they have completed a weapons training course. There is also a 10-day delay before the buyer is allowed to take the weapon home. Gun sellers are allowed to charge an extra fee up to $25 to semi-automatic buyers to help with the costs of complying with the law. The law also imposes harsher penalties if a gun owner does not store the gun in a secured location; the idea is to stop “prohibited persons” from gaining access to the weapon. You can read the entire ballot initiative embedded above.
The NRA filed a lawsuit arguing that that the measure was unconstitutional because it prevents “the sale to otherwise qualified adults under age 21 of certain rifles.” But the NRA was not the only group to take issue with the new law. Nearly 20 sheriffs across Washington have said they would not enforce the new measures, including Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, who said he doesn’t have the authority to enforce it.
4. Ledford Threatened President Trump, Republicans, Billionaires, Elon Musk, the CEO of General Motors & Climate Change Deniers on His Facebook Page
Jaydin Ledford’s Facebook account did not limit the anger to just law enforcement officers. In early February, he posted dozens of times on a myriad of issues and threatened violence. On February 4, he wrote, “fucking republican terrorists i am going to kill every single one of them.” On February 4, he commented on a story about President Trump, “I am gonna shoot this motherf*cker in the head.” Ledford also commented on a story about Supreme Court justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh with two words: “motherf*cking motherf*ckers.”
Ledford posted multiple times about billionares, writing that he would rather be homeless than a billionaire. He shared a story about Elon Musk striving to reach the moon and wrote, “oh, my worst enemy is finally doing something useful with his disgusting miserable wealth. good? nah. we could do it faster.” Ledford added in the comments, “i want him dead tho.”
He issued a similar threat to General Motors CEO Mary Barra. On February 2, Ledford shared a story about company layoffs and wrote, “I know where she lives.” On February 1, he wrote, “Is it time to start executing the bourgeoisie yet? I’ll wait.”
On February 1, Ledford retweeted a message that read, “the apple store is giving out free airpods if u go in with a gun and a mask.” Ledford responded to it, “who wants to go with me?”
Ledford lamented about climate change, called New Jersey Senator Cory Booker an idiot, referred to Senator Mitch McConnell as a “piece of sh*t,” indicated that Senator Kamala Harrus out of touch, called Secretary of State Mike Pompeo a “clown fascist,” and shared articles bashing President Trump.
5. Jaydin Ledford Describes Himself as a Marxist
Jaydin Ledford’s Facebook page is filled with posts criticizing capitalism and indicating that the system is dying. He identifies himself as a Marxist and posted multiple messages about socialism.
He shared a screenshot of a google search, in which the question was “who is the greatest man ever.” Pictures of Karl Marx are shown as the result. Ledford commented, “damn straight.” A few days later he shared images of various pamphlets on socialism, decolonization, worker unions and “intersectional feminism.”
It’s unclear if Ledford is currently employed. The criminal complaint noted that he used to work at Okanogan Behavioral Health.” In one of his posts, he wrote “all work and no pay makes jay an angry boy” twelve times. He claims to have attended Colorado State University.