Roanoke man charged with sending threatening tweets to Bob Goodlatte

The tweets happened in December, April

Bob Goodlatte
Bob Goodlatte (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

ROANOKE, Va. – The U.S. attorney's office has charged a Roanoke man with using social media to make threats against U.S. Congressman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va.

According to arrest records, around the time of Dec. 17, 2017, McGowan allegedly tweeted to Representative Goodlatte a series of messages threatening the congressman. 

“I will do this in full belief I am defending the constitution of the United States. I am not making a joke. I will kill him. Should you believe my doing so would be illegal please arrest me so we can have this discussion in court BEFORE I actually do it. Thank you.” 

On Dec. 18 , Botetourt County Sheriff’s Office deputies interviewed McGowan in his home. According the the Dept. of Justice, during the interview, McGowan admitted to sending the tweets the day before, but said he did not own a gun and didn't intend to hurt Goodlatte or anyone else. 

McGowan later tweeted more threatening messages to the congressman on April 1, 2018.

“I’m serious, @BobGoodlatte6 …you keep f**king with our constitution and challenging Mueller and the last you see will be my patriot ass behind a gun you should have long ago have prevented me owning pulling a trigger to your head (SIC). Want me arrested>? GO head.”

“#1 threatened my congressman with violence #2 stated I would kill people. #3: pretty much declared I would commit a plethora of anti-social behavior, publicly. Whom would like to bet I can purchase a gun three days from now and NOT be locked up in jail? #proudtobeanAmerican”

“…Corruption happens on so many levels and in so many ways…but YOU have truly taken it to an extreme. History will hate you even more than I do. You better get on those gun laws. I am buying one intended for you in 3 days. Can you legally stop me?”

McGowan was arrested Friday morning and had his initial appearance in U.S. District Court Friday afternoon.  He will stay in the custody of U. S. marshals until his bond hearing next Wednesday. 

Congressman Goodlatte represents the 6th Congressional District of Virginia and is the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. 

The investigation of the case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Roanoke City Police Department, the Botetourt County Sheriff’s Office and the U. S. Capitol Police.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jake Jacobsen will prosecute the federal case.