Even in a post-Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton shooting world, threatening to shoot up a synagogue, while being in possession of an illegal AR-15, does not keep a man in jail for more than a couple days.
We’re all dealing with a heightened level of anxiety after the Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting left four people dead, and last weekend’s El Paso and Dayton attacks killed 31 victims. But that anxiety is understandably off the charts in the Bay Area Jewish community, after a June incident where an East Bay man using the handle “Adolf Hitler (((6 million)))” on the gaming platform Steam said that he would kill “like 30 k*kes and then like five police officers,” while “wearing a Nazi uniform” and planned to livestream it with added “Nazi music,” according to the Jewish Chronicle.
Obvious racism and mass shooting risk aside, you’d think threatening to kill multiple police officers would land a person in jail for quite some time. It has not. The East Bay Times brings us the news that the man who made these threats is still free, having served just four days in the Martinez Detention Facility.
For some background, the San Francisco Chronicle reported in mid-June that police had arrested 23-year-old Concord resident Ross Farca for making the online threats, and upon arresting him, also found an illegal AR-15 along with “ammunition, camouflage and Nazi material.” (Realize this was just six weeks after a San Diego synagogue shooting killed one woman and injured three other people.) But according to the Jewish News, his $225,000 bail was quickly lowered to $125,000, and he only had to post a deposit of $12,500 through a bail bond company to be released. The Chronicle adds that Farca had been placed in a mental health hold in 2011 for fighting with police, and that a worker who had experience with him at a mental health facility said he fit the profile of a school shooter.
So Farca remains free, and out of custody until his next court appearance in September, with the sole condition that police can search him anytime. The Times spoke with his attorney Joseph Tully, who said that Farca was “trolling,” “very autistic,” and “didn’t have any plans to hurt anyone.”
Gun violence experts are not convinced.
“These types of threats are usually antecedents to real violence,” University of New Hampshire mass shooting analyst Christian Jaworski, told the East Bay Times. “It is a miracle that this was caught before any violence occurred. Usually, it is only in the aftermath of a mass shooting when people comb through the social media presence of alleged perpetrators and discover the violent clues.”
In Farca’s case, those clues included the illegal assault rifle, plus “13 empty magazines, a three-foot Katana sword, camouflage clothes, pistol ammunition, a hunting knife and books about Hitler youth and Nazis,” per the Times.
“There should be a careful assessment of him being a threat to the community,” CSU San Bernardino Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism chairperson Brian Levin said. “That’s the basis for restricting bail: if someone’s a flight risk or a risk to the community. Without having seen all the evidence, it’s difficult for me to second guess, but it certainly sends up a red flag that a fellow who threatened a massacre is free.”
Concord police vow they’re monitoring Farca, and say federal agents are as well. “The only time we can guarantee someone isn’t going to commit an offense is if they’re in custody,” sergeant Mark Robison told that paper. “We hope that our actions are enough to intervene in any planned violence.”