Orem man threatened to shoot YouTube employees, police say

Posted at 6:56 PM, May 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-20 11:14:02-04

OREM, Utah --  An Orem man was arrested Saturday and faces a charge of threat of terrorism.

David Levon Swanson, 35, threatened YouTube employees in his replies to others' videos four times since September 2018, according to booking documents.

In one comment, he even said he was coming to their headquarters to shoot employees.

"When I visit your campus in two weeks I'll be able to shoot any employees exiting, from the convenience of my car, because the First Amendment allows me a right to do so," he wrote.

When Orem Police officers showed up at his house and asked him about the comments, he said he meant shooting photos or videos, not guns.

Swanson told police he was "obviously combining the idea of a campus shooting and a filming of a campus," according to a police probable cause statement.

However, he also admitted to officers that he drove to the Bay Area in California with a firearm in his possession two weeks after posting the comment.

Police say Swanson  "intended to intimidate a civilian population" with his comments, especially since a female shooter opened fire at YouTube headquarters in 2018, injuring four. Police said they asked if he knew about this incident, and he did. He also admitted that he would be concerned if someone made a similar comment about him, his wife or his home, the document states.

Swanson's other comments implied that executives deserved to die, including:

"The only thing that comes after the death of YouTube is a funeral for all the executives that were rightfully murdered."

"Their only hope of not getting their executive teams slaughtered (by gun) is to clean up their act and start following the spirit of the US Constitution."

"I'm not saying YouTube employees need to die, but I know they are at least as evil as any Of the worst groups in history because their hearts are evil ... They won't last much longer."

His comments were mostly made on videos that criticized YouTube's free speech and copyright practices.