Connecticut woman charged with threatening college

February 21, 2013 3:40:26 AM PST
A woman has been charged with falsely threatening to carry out a suicidal mass shooting and bombing at Gateway Community College in New Haven, federal authorities said Wednesday.

The U.S. attorney's office said 19-year-old Amanda C. Bowden of East Haven was charged with one count of false information and hoaxes. She was detained pending a court hearing scheduled for March 1.

"As alleged, this defendant made a series of threats that described in great detail her intention to carry out a suicidal mass murder at a community college in New Haven," said U.S. Attorney David Fein. "All threats of this nature will be viewed as serious by this office and prosecuted to the full extent of federal law."

A telephone message was left with a federal public defender and at Bowden's home.

Prosecutors say Bowden made the threats this month, initially through text messaging with a cooperating witness and subsequently through texts and verbal conversations with an undercover law enforcement agent. They say Bowden claimed to possess firearms and to have constructed at least two napalm-based bombs at her residence.

Authorities say no firearms or explosive devices or related materials were found during a search of Bowden's residence.

In an unrecorded conversation with the undercover FBI agent, Bowden praised the man who killed 20 first-graders and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, a town about 20 miles from New Haven, and expressed her desire to eclipse the shooter, according to an arrest affidavit.

Bowden told investigators she was not actually planning any shooting or bombing but was seeking to be accepted by the people she was exchanging messages with, according to the affidavit. But authorities say that she admitted sending texts describing how she made napalm bombs and that she researched how to make such explosives from searching the Internet.

Bowden's text accurately described how to construct a homemade napalm bomb, authorities said.

Bowden was never affiliated with Gateway Community College, either as a student or as an employee, a school spokeswoman said.

Bowden faces up to five years in prison if convicted of the federal charge.

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