Public Safety

Dubuque man who threatened to bomb President Trump, White House pleads guilty

He had plans to detonate homemade bombs at White House

CEDAR RAPIDS — A Dubuque man pleaded guilty Tuesday to making multiple threats against President Donald Trump in April, which included detailed plans of how he would detonate homemade bombs at the White House.

Christian M. Delatorre, 25, was convicted in U.S. District Court of willfully threatening to take the life of and inflict seriously bodily harm upon the president of the United States.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Roberts told Delatorre he faces up to five years in federal prison, a fine of $250,000 and three years of supervised released following any prison time.

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 was 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 was “infuriated” when Trump made statements about sending immigrants back to their home countries.

The plea agreement shows Delatorre was also upset about Trump “mocking” people and described his behavior as “unpresidential.”

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Delatorre told authorities he was “planning and revising his plan to attack President Trump every day for over the past year,” according to the plea.

He also researched on the internet how to make bombs, the plea shows. A list of materials was found on Delatorre’s cellphone.

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

He also told authorities he was “obsessed” with firearms and knives, according to the plea. He believed “guns allow you to take someone’s soul,” and he sharpens knives to relieve stress.

Also found on Delatorre’s cellphone was the address and floor plans of the White House, and a bus reservation from Dubuque to Washington, D.C., scheduled for April.

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 trial is Dec. 3.

Sentencing in the federal case will be set at a later date.

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

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