WILTON MANORS (CBSMiami) – Federal prosecutors have dropped their criminal case against a man accused of making online threats to harm the LGBT community in Wilton Manors.
Craig Jungwirth, 50, was charged with interstate transmission of a threatening communication after authorities said he threatened to “exterminate” gays on Labor Day, similar to the deadly attack in Orlando just months earlier.
The messages were allegedly posted to his Facebook page.
“None of you deserve to live,” one post read. “If you losers thought the Pulse nightclub shooting was bad, wait till you see what I’m planning for Labor Day.”
Another Facebook post read:
“You can never catch a genius from MIT and since you fa****s aren’t dying from AIDS anymore, I have a better solution to exterminate you losers,” the threatening posts continued. “I’m going to be killing you fa** faster than cops kill nig****. It’s time to clean up Wilton Manors from all you AIDS-infested losers.”
The threats, which were brought to the police’s attention by a tipster, alarmed Wilton Manors residents, a large percentage of whom belong to the LGBT community. The city has long considered itself “the second gayest city in America.”
The decision to dismiss the indictment, however, comes six weeks after prosecutors publicly acknowledged the evidence against him was “weak” and circumstantial.
Investigators said Jungwirth has about 59 Facebook profiles and directly linking the alleged threat to him proved challenging.
The news has left many uneasy and plenty more angry.
“I think it’s outrageous that they drop the charges so I don’t think it’s right,” said Michael Franklin.
Nick Berry, owner of Rumors nightclub, knows Jungwirth well, as the two are locked in a court battle.
“He’s a credible threat and we took it very seriously,” he said.
Jungwirth is accused of a dine and dash at his restaurant – and charged with spraying graffiti on the front of Berry’s bar.
He said Jungwirth has threatened him in the past.
Berry said Jungwirth once told him “if I find you, I’ll slit your throat. Watch you’re back, I’m watching your every move.”
Norm Kent is an attorney who represents Nick Berry. He is also the publisher of The South Florida Gay News. He says just because the Feds dismissed the case now, they can still revisit it later.
“I think the federal government should work harder to try to establish whether or not this person isn’t a danger or threat to the community,” he said.
In the past, Jungwirth has been accused of stalking and domestic violence and had restraining orders filed against him.
Authorities were apparently inundated with calls from those concerned.
“Don’t press the panic button yet, he’s still in custody,” said Wilton Manors Police Chief Paul O’Connell.
Police in Wilton Manors say because of the fear caused by the posts, and the mention of a Pulse nightclub style shooting, they’re putting the word out to businesses to cut down on rumors and misinformation.
“The flyers will say the federal charges have been dropped, but that doesn’t mean the investigation has stopped. The investigation is ongoing, point one,” he explained. “Point two, he’s still in custody for the misdemeanor charges.”
Jungwirth was facing 10 to 16 months in federal prison had the case gone forth and led to a conviction.