The Washington Post

Charges to be announced against man police say threatened mass shooting

The Crofton man who Prince George’s County police said referenced the Joker as he threatened to open fire at his workplace has been charged with misuse of telephone facilities, a misdemeanor.

Neil E. Prescott (Mike Cochran/AP)

In two phone calls with a supervisor, police said, Prescott threatened to shoot up his employer and said he was “a Joker” — an apparent reference to the new Dark Knight Rises movie and mass shooting at a screening in Aurora, Colo. When authorities raided Prescott’s Crofton apartment, they found more than 20 guns and large quantities of ammunition.

Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks said Wednesday that Prescott “ought to be facing felony charges, not just misdemeanor charges.

She said Maryland does not have a law that makes it “expressly illegal for a person to convey generalized threats over the telephone.” But said she would lobby state lawmakers to pass such a law.

The telephone charge carries a maximum of three years in jail and a $500 fine. It prohibits, among other things, someone from using a phone to make repeated calls “with the intent to annoy, abuse, torment, harass, or embarrass another.”

Authorities said the guns Prescott had were obtained legally.

Prescott remains voluntarily hospitalized, authorities said. They said that when he is relased, they will serve a warrant formally charging him with the misdemeanor.

This Post has been updated.

Matt Zapotosky covers the federal district courthouse in Alexandria, where he tries to break news from a windowless office in which he is not allowed to bring his cell phone.

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