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Homeland Security Agency Issues Domestic Terrorism Warning

In a terrorism advisory bulletin, the Department of Homeland Security warned the U.S. is in a "heightened threat environment," reports Axios. "Targets of potential violence include public gatherings, faith-based institutions, the LGBTQI+ community, schools, racial and religious minorities, government facilities and personnel, U.S. critical infrastructure, the media, and perceived ideological opponents," the bulletin reads. The advisory is in response to several recent attacks, plots, and threats of violence. The bulletin cites an incident in New Jersey, where an individual was arrested for sharing a manifesto that threatened attacks on synagogues, and the mass shooting at a Colorado Springs LGBTQ nightclub earlier this month that killed five people and injured 17 more, according to the Associated Press. The man suspected of opening fire, Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, faces five murder charges and five charges of committing a bias-motivated crime causing bodily injury in the Saturday night attack at Club Q.

The charges against Aldrich are preliminary, and prosecutors have not filed formal charges in court yet. The hate crime charges would require proving that the gunman was motivated by bias, such as against the victims’ actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. If the shooter is convicted of murder charges, District Attorney Michael Allen said, he could receive the harshest penalty — life in prison — whereas bias crimes are eligible for probation. “But it is important to let the community know that we do not tolerate bias-motivated crimes in this community, that we support communities that have been maligned, harassed and intimidated and abused,” Allen said. “And that’s one way that we can do that, showing that we will put the money where our mouth is, essentially, and make sure that we try it that way.” Additional charges are possible as the investigation continues, he said. The advisory bulletin warns of lone offenders and small groups motivated by extreme "ideological beliefs and/or personal grievances." The warning also alerted of future potential acts for upcoming holidays, "In the coming months, threat actors could exploit several upcoming events to justify or commit acts of violence, including certifications related to the midterm elections, the holiday season and associated large gatherings, the marking of two years since the breach of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, and potential sociopolitical developments connected to ideological beliefs or personal hostility."


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