A 72-year-old Florida man, identified as Michael Shapiro from Greenacres in Palm Beach County, was apprehended on Wednesday morning for allegedly making threats to kill a member of Congress and their children. The targeted representative is reported to be Bay Area Rep. Eric Swalwell, although this detail was not explicitly stated in the official release from the Southern District of Florida United States Attorney’s Office.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Shapiro left multiple threatening voicemail messages at a congressional office in Washington, D.C., on December 19, 2023. In these messages, he purportedly threatened to “come after you and kill you” and also mentioned an intention to “come and kill your children.” The criminal complaint against Shapiro revealed that he had previously pleaded guilty in federal court in 2019 for making threatening communications to another victim.
While the official statement did not explicitly name Rep. Eric Swalwell as the targeted Congressperson, Swalwell himself addressed the arrest on social media. In a post, he asserted that no threats would deter him from representing his constituents and linked the incident to a broader issue of violence over voting, particularly referencing MAGA Republicans.
Shapiro made his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce E. Reinhart for the Southern District of Florida on the same day as his arrest.
This incident adds to a series of threats and challenges faced by Rep. Eric Swalwell in recent times. The representative, who serves California’s 14th congressional district, covering parts of Alameda County and Contra Costa County, has been a recurring target for threats. In a previous case, a 22-year-old Pennsylvania man pleaded guilty to making threatening phone calls to Swalwell’s Bay Area offices in 2022.
Rep. Swalwell has consistently reported instances of threats and harassment. Last year, former 49ers fullback Bruce Miller was reported after making threats on social media. Swalwell has also disclosed receiving numerous death threats on a daily basis. In an interview with CBS News, he shared concerns about the safety of his family, noting that his children refrain from playing in the front yard due to threatening letters received at their residence.
The arrest of Michael Shapiro underscores the ongoing challenges faced by public figures, particularly those in elected office, highlighting the need for heightened security measures and a focus on addressing the root causes of such threats.