Public Safety

Decoy drones and bombs: Iowa man charged with threatening President Trump, planning to blow up hospital

Trial set July 22

Christian Delatorre
Christian Delatorre

CEDAR RAPIDS — A Dubuque man pleaded not guilty this week to federal charges of making multiple threats against President Donald Trump, including detailed plans of how drones would position homemade bombs for an attack at the White House.

Christian M. Delatorre, 25, who was indicted in U.S. District Court last week in Cedar Rapids, waived his personal appearance Tuesday and pleaded not guilty in writing to making threats against the president of the United States.

The criminal complaint shows a special agent with the Joint Terrorism Task Force in Dubuque received a call from a psychiatric nurse practitioner at Mercy Hospital in Dubuque last month, saying Delatorre, who was receiving treatment, was making threats about “assassinating” Trump to members of the hospital staff.

The nurse said Delatorre’s “anti-social behavior” wasn’t being controlled, and she was concerned about the hospital’s ability to confine him, U.S. Secret Service Special Agent Edward Schnurr said in the complaint’s affidavit.

On April 29, Schnurr met with Delatorre at the hospital, and Delatorre said he had been questioned by the Secret Service in the past about making threats to kill the president in 2012, 2015 and 2018, according to the complaint. He said he first became angry when Trump made statements about sending immigrants back to their home countries.

Delatorre said he also is mad that Trump said NFL football players are being disrespectful for kneeling during the national anthem, among other actions of the president that he doesn’t like, according to complaint.

Delatorre is confident the “current version” of his plan will work as soon as he is released from the hospital, Schnurr said.

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Delatorre said he researched on the internet how to make bombs and what materials are needed. Schnurr saw the list of materials as Delatorre showed him on his cellphone, according to court documents.

Schnurr included in the documents Delatorre’s plans to use drones to activate the bombs and also to serve as decoys to draw away security at the White House. Delatorre also told Schnurr if this plan doesn’t work, he would take “suicide” actions to carry it out.

The complaint shows Delatorre on his phone had the bomb materials list, a timeline for the proposed attack, a bus reservation from Dubuque to Washington, D.C., and the floor plan of the White House rooms where he planned to attack.

Delatorre also is accused of threatening to blow up the hospital. He is charged in Dubuque County District Court with two counts of threats with an explosive or incendiary device. His arraignment in that case is June 3.

His trial in federal court is set for July 22. If convicted, he faces up to five years in federal prison.

l Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com

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