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Police: Orem man threatens to kill YouTube employees, then drives to California with gun

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OREM, Utah (ABC4 News) – A 35-year-old man was arrested last week after he posted threats to kill employees at YouTube Headquarters, then drove to California with a firearm. 

Arresting documents state on Tuesday, detectives were made aware of several threats made over the last year by Orem resident David Swanson towards YouTube.

In the first threat, on September 5, 2018, Swanson posted a comment to the YouTube video Logan Paul & KSI Copyright Takedown, that read “The only thing that comes after the death of YouTube is a funeral for all the executives that were rightfully murdered”, documents state.

Records indicated that again on December 6, 2018 Swanson posted a comment to a YouTube video ”What happens if you tell Google to kill itself?“.

Swanson’s comment said “Google, amazon, facebook, twitter… all very happy to kill themselves, by falling for leftist ideology (religion). 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.”

Police said Swanson then made two threats on April 30, 2019, on the same YouTube video, “Ending the Subscribe to Pewdiepie Meme“.

According to documents, one comment said “It’s actually because the goons at YouTube think their ideology has won another victory. They see Pewds as someone that is moving further away from the religion they believe in (Leftism) and bringing millions with him. 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 and they happen to be wielding the weapon of the power of speech. They won’t last much longer”.

The second comment read “Hey YouTube – you just lost your parent company $70,000,000,000 – see I kept saying you guys were gonna get what you deserve soon. Get woke go broke, and 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”.

On Wednesday, detectives interviewed Swanson at his home in Orem.

He admitted to posting the comments, including the one where he said he would visit their campus in two weeks and will shoot their employees, documents state.

Police said during the interview Swanson claimed he meant a video shoot or taking pictures, which he advised is allowed by freedom of the press but then admitted this was a play on words and was “obviously combining the idea of a campus shooting and a filming of a campus,” which police said clearly distinguishes between the two.

Documents state Swanson admitted he knew that YouTube had employees shot by a female last year at their headquarters, and he would be concerned if someone made a similar comment to him, his wife and their house.

Swanson admitted he drove to the Bay Area in California with a firearm in his possession two weeks after posting this comment, according to documents.

YouTube has between 2,000 to 3,000 employees that work at their headquarters. Police said Swanson clearly intended to intimidate their employees by threatening to cause bodily injury and/or death with his comments/posts, document state.

He was booked into the Utah County Jail on one count second-degree felony count threat of terrorism.

A background check for Swanson shows no criminal history in Utah.


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