A former Navy veteran and New York City ex-police officer was arrested Nov. 18 after being charged with threatening to assassinate President Barack Obama.
According to the online publication Talking Points Memo, Michael Stephen Bowden, 78, was taken into custody Nov. 18 after revealing to a nurse during a routine visit Nov. 16 to a Department of Veterans Affairs medical facility in Spartanburg, S.C., that he wanted to “shoot” the president “and then myself.”
The revelation immediately triggered an on-site psychiatric evaluation in which Bowden further stated his intent to travel to the Washington, D.C., to kill Obama because he felt the president had not done enough for Black people.
Bowden, who is White, also told the nurse that he could kill anyone.
Unlike most people arrested for making threats against the president, Bowden did not try to recant his threats. Instead, he elaborated in a sworn statement that, “If I had the opportunity to put Obama up against the wall and shoot him, I would kill if possible the president, for what he has done to this country. “
Further alarmed by the comments, U.S. Secret Service agents interviewed Bowden at his home Nov. 17 where they found a small arsenal of weapons that included three loaded hand guns and semi-automatic rifle near his bed.
Bowden, who admitted to being suicidal, is a retired New York City policeman and firefighter.
His son told The New York Post that he felt his father’s comments were a cry for help from a mentally unstable old man.
Kerry Bowden, 47, said his entire family was shocked by his father’s comments and that none of them had any idea the older man was suicidal. He also blamed Veterans Affairs officials for failing to notice his father was possibly suicidal.
“Let’s face it — he’s a 78-year-old man that’s gone through two bypass surgeries,” Kerry Bowden was quoted as telling a New York radio station, “He has seven stints. If he lifts anything over 20 pounds, he has to pop a nitro because of his chest pain,” he said, referring to one of the medications his father takes. “Is this man really a threat?”
Bowden remains in custody in South Carolina. In the event he is released, he would not be allowed to leave the state without permission and would be forbidden to own a fire arm, according to radio station report in New York.
The Christian Science Monitor reported that nearly 1 in 10 U.S. presidents have been assassinated or wounded in office. Bowden is among two dozen individuals who have been arrested for making threats against Obama, who receives as many as 30 death threats a day.