Who is Thomas Gabbard? Washington man, 19, threatens to BLOW UP elementary school

According to police reports, Gabbard's criminal history showed that he had a juvenile conviction that barred him from legally possessing firearms


                            Who is Thomas Gabbard? Washington man, 19, threatens to BLOW UP elementary school
Officers and armed personnel served a high-risk search warrant as they arrived at the suspect's home (Mason County Sheriff's Office/Facebook)
ADVERTISEMENT

MASON COUNTY, WASHINGTON: A Washington man has been arrested for allegedly threatening to blow up an elementary school. On Instagram live, 19-year-old Thomas Gabbard claimed to be a gang member. When a viewer on the live stream insisted that he was not, Gabbard responded saying he was “going to pull up and bomb a school,” police said. He did not specify any location.

ADVERTISEMENT

Gabbard went on to claim that he had bombs in his possession, following which the viewer called the local police and informed them about the sick threats. The viewer told police that Gabbard called him using the phone number provided on his account. During the call, which lasted approximately two minutes, the viewer tried to obtain information from Gabbard about which school he had planned to attack. Gabbard did not respond to these questions but instead allegedly called the viewer “racially derogatory names".

ADVERTISEMENT

READ MORE

Hopkins High: Teacher suspended for saying how HE would have carried out Oxford school shooting

Who is Amelia King? Parent who said she’d bring loaded guns to Virginia school charged

ADVERTISEMENT

Who is Thomas Gabbard?

According to police reports, Gabbard's criminal history showed that he had a juvenile conviction that barred him from legally possessing firearms. Police said that they found three photos on his social media accounts in which he is seen holding firearms, including two pistols and a rifle. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Officers and armed personnel served a high-risk search warrant as they arrived at the suspect's home, and a SWAT team arrested Gabbard without incident.  No explosives or firearms were found at his house. Gabbard told police that he was not serious about bombing a school, New York Post reported. Asked about the firearms he was seen holding in the photos, he claimed that they were air powered. He denied having any firearms or explosives in his possession.

ADVERTISEMENT

Gabbard later admitted that the rifle shown in his photo posted on social media was taken at his sister’s home. This was done at a time when he knew he was prohibited from possessing firearms. He also said that he had falsely claimed to be a gang member.

This incident comes amid an ongoing discussion about ways to curb gun violence in the wake of the Uvalde school shooting. A deadly massacre unfolded at Robb Elementary school in Uvalde on May 24 when 18-year-old Salvador Ramos barricaded himself inside a classroom and slaughtered 19 students and two teachers. Police faced sharp criticism for allegedly failing to stop the shooting quickly enough and come to the victims' rescue on time. Ramos was shot dead by an off-duty Customs and Border Protection agent from an elite tactical unit. In another incident in May, a racially motivated teen, Payton Gendron, gunned down ten people and injured three others at a Buffalo supermarket. The 18-year-old drove from 'hours away' in Conklin, New York, to the Tops market on Jefferson Avenue. The shooting took place in a predominantly Black neighborhood. Eleven of the victims were Black and two of them were White. Gendron has pleaded not guilty.

ADVERTISEMENT

Meanwhile, in a landmark gun control measure, President Joe Biden signed a bipartisan gun safety bill into law on Saturday, June 25. This is the first major federal gun safety legislation passed in decades. "God willing, it's going to save a lot of lives," Biden said at the White House as he finished signing the bill. The bill, called the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, was released by Republican Sens. John Cornyn of Texas and Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Democratic Sens. Chris Murphy of Connecticut and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.

ADVERTISEMENT

The legislation will toughen background checks for the youngest gun buyers. It will also keep firearms from more domestic violence offenders. States will now get help to put in place red flag laws that make it easier for authorities to take weapons from people believed to be dangerous. Most of its $13 billion costs will help strengthen mental health programs and aid schools. The law will also prevent anyone who is convicted of a domestic violence crime against someone they have a "continuing serious relationship of a romantic or intimate nature" from having a gun. The law is not retroactive. However, it will allow people convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence crimes to restore their gun rights after five years, if they have not committed other crimes.

ADVERTISEMENT