Threat Caller Goes To Federal Prison

Date: 
Friday, August 30, 2019
Office Affiliation: 

From the U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Michigan:

GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN —Samuel Adam Santellan, 55, of Florida, was sentenced to a year in prison for communicating a threat in interstate commerce, U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge announced today. In imposing the sentence, Chief U.S. District Judge Robert J. Jonker stated that one of his considerations was to deter such threats, which endanger public safety whether or not the caller intends to carry them out.

In December, 2018, Santellan called the Kalamazoo office of the Social Security Administration, from Florida, about a rejected disability claim. Santellan became angry when he did not receive the relief he was hoping for, and told the clerk he was going to "get a gun, come to the [Social Security] office and shoot everyone." The Kalamazoo office was placed on alert, and a uniformed officer of the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety was temporarily dispatched to provide armed security.

At sentencing, Santellan claimed he did not possess a gun and had no intention of carrying out a mass shooting. Special Agents of the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General and officers of the Daytona Beach Shores (Florida) Police Department expended significant resources tracking and locating Santellan, both before he was indicted and after he failed to appear for court while out on bond. "Law enforcement has to take every threat of mass firearms violence seriously," said U.S. Attorney Birge. "Every officer and agent diverted to deal with an aborted threat or a hoax is unavailable to stop another shooter."

This case was investigated by the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General and the Daytona Beach Shores Police Department and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Nils Kessler.