New York man threatened to attack NYC Pride, LGBTQ businesses: Prosecutors

NEW YORK (WABC) -- A suburban New York man threatened to attack the 2021 New York City Pride March with "firepower" that would "make the 2016 Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooting look like a cakewalk," federal prosecutors said Monday as they announced criminal charges.

Robert Fehring, 74, of Bayport, allegedly sent letters threatening to assault, shoot, and bomb LGBTQ+ affiliated individuals, organizations, and businesses.

A search of his home last month turned up photographs from a 2021 Pride event in East Meadow, New York, two loaded shotguns, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, two stun guns, and a stamped envelope addressed to an LGBTQ+ affiliated attorney containing the remains of a dead bird, federal prosecutors said.

"As alleged, the defendant's hate-filled invective and threats of violence directed at members of the LGBTQ+ community have no place in our society and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," said United States Attorney Breon Peace.

Fehring has been sending these kinds of threatening letters since at least 2013, according to the criminal complaint. In them, he threatened the use of firearms and explosives.
One letter threatened that there would "be radio-controlled devices placed at numerous strategic places" at the 2021 New York City Pride March with "firepower" that would "make the 2016 Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooting look like a cakewalk," referencing the 2016 attack in which 49 persons were killed, the complaint said.

The complaint quoted from a letter Fehring is also alleged to have a sent to the organizer of a June 2021 Pride event in East Meadow, New York:

"We were right there you...FREAK!!! They couldn't get a shot off at you, slithering around the back stage area like a snake. Too many cops. Very disappointed. But your time has come. . .. They are out to KILL you....and your boyfriend. You are being watched. No matter how long it takes, you will be taken out.... high-powered bullet.... bomb....knife.... whatever it takes."

Fehring's next door neighbor, Brian Bennett, said the FBI came to Fehring's home last month.

"I see the FBI coming out with some bags," Bennett recounted.

David Kilmnick, President of Long Island's LGBT Network, said he received approximately 12 of these threatening letters throughout the past eight years. He said they were sent to his home as well.

"At least for a couple of weeks, I would always look behind me," he told Eyewitness News reporter Kristin Thorne. "Look left and right to make sure no one was out there with the gun."

Kilmnick said each time he was sent a letter, he reported it to the police. He said he wished Fehring had been caught sooner.

"We're glad this is taken care of," he said. "We are hopeful that justice will finally be served and a dangerous individual is no longer free to terrorize our community with extreme hate, bias and violence."

Glenn Obedin, Fehring's attorney, said "We appreciate the seriousness with which this type of allegation is being taken."

Obedin said people should wait for the case to play out in court.

Fehring was released on a $100,000 bond with multiple suretors. He is on home detention with location monitoring

The FBI is asking that anyone who may have received similar threats to report it by calling 1-800-CALLFBI.

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The precincts where both incidents took place each have seen shooting incidents increase by around 37% compared to this time in 2020.

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