Tennessee man taken into custody after threatening to murder Tulsi Gabbard and Mazie Hirono

hirono-gabbard

A former Hawaii man living in Tennessee was taken into custody after a criminal complaint was issued charging him with threatening to murder Senator Mazie Hirono and Representative Tulsi Gabbard.

Agents arrested Keahiokahonua Stewart, 36, at his home without incident and is in federal custody. Stewart is scheduled to make an initial appearance Friday, Sept. 23, before a U.S. magistrate judge in Nashville.

According to the criminal complaint, beginning in Aug. 2016 and continuing through Sept. 12, 2016, Stewart sent threatening emails and posted threatening videos to Instagram accounts, which he created.

In an email dated Aug. 19, 2016, Stewart said he would fly from Nashville to Honolulu on Nov. 1, 2016 with the intent to shoot Hirono and Gabbard at the Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse.

The complaint outlines that beginning in Nov. 2013, Stewart sent a series of “grievances” to various U.S. officials and departments, including Hirono and Gabbard, inquiring about his Social Security number that he falsely believed was duplicated and issued to a fellow soldier he met while stationed in Korea, in 2002. Stewart demanded the Social Security Administration and Department of Defense award him 100 percent disability and $50 billion.

Stewart’s actions continued to be investigated by law enforcement including a May 2015 visit to Hirono’s office in Washington, D.C., which resulted in the U.S. Capitol Police being called. In subsequent Facebook and Instagram posts, Stewart continued to post comments about the issue and display photos of himself with firearms.

In an Instagram video posted by Stewart on Sept. 8, 2016, he stated that he would be flying to Honolulu on Nov. 1, 2016 with an AR-15 and two handguns. Stewart stated he had already shipped a silencer for one of the handguns and that it was stored in a garage in Waianae.

A spokesman for the local FBI said a search warrant was executed Friday afternoon “at a home in Waianae to search for evidence in support of its field office in Tennessee.” The search included ATF agents, State Sheriffs, U.S. postal inspectors and Honolulu police officers. Field interviews were also conducted in the neighborhood.

Investigators recently determined that Stewart had purchased an airline ticket to travel from Nashville to Honolulu for Nov. 1, 2016, however it had been “exchanged” to allow the ticket holder to travel on any other date.

Stewart was also charged with transmitting in interstate commerce, a communication containing a threat.

If convicted, Stewart faces up to 10 years in prison on the charge of threatening to murder a U.S. official and up to 5 years in prison on the charge of communicating threats through interstate commerce.

We reached out to the communication directors for both Senator Hirono and Representative Gabbard, and both parties said they had no comment on the matter.

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