Colo. lawmaker sponsoring gun bills gets threat
DENVER — A Colorado man is suspected of threatening a Democratic state lawmaker who’s sponsoring gun-control measures, after the legislator received a letter saying “There Will Be Blood!” according to police.
Franklin Sain, 42, was arrested Friday on suspicion of harassment and attempting to influence a public official, said Denver police spokeswoman Raquel Lopez.
Police said in an affidavit for Sain’s arrest that Aurora Rep. Rhonda Fields received a letter that said, “I’m Coming For You” and listed her and her daughter with the comment, “Death to Both.” The letter had no return address, but investigators said it had similar language to a voicemail and emails to Fields that were traced to Sain.
Fields represents the district where 12 people were killed in shootings at an Aurora movie theater, and she’s a lead sponsor of bills to expand background checks for firearm purchases and to limit the size of ammunition magazines.
Sain was released on $30,000 bail. He is scheduled to appear in Denver County court March 8 to hear what charges he could face, said sheriff’s Capt. Frank Gale.
Sain is chief operating officer of Englewood-based SofTec Solutions, a technology services consulting firm. He did not immediately respond to a call Monday seeking comment.
According to Sain’s arrest affidavit, police say he’s suspected of leaving a profane voicemail for Fields at her office and sending her about a half-dozen emails. One referring to Fields and another lawmaker co-sponsoring gun legislation read, “hopefully somebody Gifords both of” you, apparently referring to the shooting in Arizona that wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
Detectives spoke with Sain at work last week, and he allegedly acknowledged contacting Fields but said he didn’t threaten her. At the time of the conversation, the detectives didn’t know about the letter because Fields had yet to receive it, according to the affidavit.
Sain called one of the detectives after their conversation, leaving a voicemail that said his emails didn’t contain threats, the affidavit said. “I’m just voicing some frustrations about a topic I consider sacred,” Sain said in the voicemail.
In a later call with a detective, Sain apologized for his comments to Fields, and according to the affidavit said: “That’s just not me. I’m a professional and I don’t talk or act like that.”
Fields told police she was “disturbed and shocked” by the emails and said the letter she got was “frightening” and made her afraid for her and her daughter’s safety.
The Colorado State Patrol said it is providing extra security for Fields, who has been one of the Democrats leading the push for more restrictions on access to firearms. Besides representing the district that was the site of the Aurora theater shooting, Fields is also known for losing her son, who was gunned down in 2005 before she became a legislator.
“I will not be deterred by threats,” Fields said in a statement in which she thanked Denver police and the State Patrol.
The Colorado House passed four gun measures last week, including the two that Fields sponsored. One requires background checks on all firearm purchases, including those conducted online and between private sellers. Another bill would limit the size of ammunition magazines to 15 rounds for firearms and eight for shotguns.
The measures will be heard in the Democrat-controlled Senate next week.
“It’s OK to disagree with legislators. It’s OK to express your opinion,” said Senate President John Morse. “But we’re protected by the same public safety measures as everybody else. It’s not ever OK to threaten someone.”
Morse said other Democrats in his chamber have also received threats, but none rose to the level of what Fields received.
Democratic House Speaker Mark Ferrandino previously said some in his chamber also reported threats, but none has triggered an investigation. He said he doesn’t know how many lawmakers have received threats.
“We always get a lot of, I would say not the nicest emails, not the nicest letters, but when it rises to a threat, that becomes something very serious,” Ferrandino said.