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Criminal Justice & Legal System

Flint man charged with making bomb threat at June 2 event with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

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steve carmody
/
Michigan Radio

A Flint man is facing a state terrorism charge after allegedly phoning in a bomb threat two weeks ago at an event attended by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

More than a thousand people attended the event at the Genesee County jail in Flint in hopes of having their criminal records expunged. In addition to the governor, Attorney General Dana Nessel, Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, three Michigan Supreme Court Justices, U.S. Representative Dan Kildee and numerous other dignitaries were in attendance during the day-long event. Genesee County prosecutor David Leyton says 25-year-old Ceaser Brown was hoping the bomb threat would mean he wouldn’t have to turn himself in on an outstanding warrant.

“He thought ‘Well, if they can’t book me...I can’t turn myself in...then I won’t have to do it.’  So that was his plan...his modus operandi,” says Leyton.

Brown is charged with false report or threat of terrorism and using computer for committing the crime, both 20-year felonies. Brown was already facing a felony breaking and entering warrant.   

Leyton could have charged Brown with a lesser charge of making a bomb threat which carries a 4-year sentence. The prosecutor decided to file the more serious terrorism charge in this case because it was made at an event with several dignatries, more than 1,400 people and that the threat was made against the county jail. 

Brown was not reachable for comment.

Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson says he does not believe Brown intended to hurt any official at the event. 

“Nothing indicated he intended to hurt any dignitary,” says Swanson. “It just so happened they were here when he called in the threat.”

The threat was called in about 2:26 p.m. on the afternoon of June 2, as the day long expungement fair was winding down. Sheriff’s officials say the caller warned of a “bomb threat” at  4 p.m.  

Swanson says the sheriff’s office worked with the Michigan State Police to lockdown the facility, without the need to shutdown the expungement fair.