Man in­dicted in mass shoot­ing threat

Austin American-Statesman - - COMMUNITY NEWS - By Philip Jankowski pjankowski@states­

A grand jury in Waco on Wed­nes­day in­dicted a Drip­ping Springs man the Jus­tice Depart­ment be­lieves threat­ened a mass shoot­ing at Fort Hood.

The in­dict­ment charges 28-year-old Thomas An­thony Ch­est­nut with a count of in­ter­state com­mu­ni­ca­tions with threat to in­jure. He could face five years in prison if con­victed.

Ch­est­nut is ac­cused of call­ing Fort Hood of­fi­cials and telling a sergeant that he would go to the post, kill the sergeant, take hostages and com­mit a killing spree be­fore tak­ing his own life, a re­lease from the U.S. at­tor­ney’s of­fice said.

Ch­est­nut then spoke to a ma­jor and said that he was a for­mer soldier wrongly con­victed of a crime who was re­leased from prison last year. He told the of­fi­cer the Army owed him back pay, and that if he did not re­ceive the money, he would shoot sol­diers at Fort Hood.

In June 2014, a mil­i­tary jury found Ch­est­nut guilty of sex­ual as­sault. He was sen­tenced the next month to three years in prison, a re­duc­tion in rank to pri­vate, and a dis­hon­or­able dis­charge.

In an unsworn state­ment, Ch­est­nut said he had sex with a man in his Fort Sam Hous­ton bar­racks room in Au­gust 2012, the Killeen Daily Her­ald has pre­vi­ously re­ported. At the time, the man was tak­ing the seda­tive Am­bien. Ch­est­nut said he didn’t know about the man’s sleep­ing med­i­ca­tion and thought the sex was con­sen­sual.

Ch­est­nut has a court hear­ing sched­uled in Waco on March 22.

The sprawl­ing mil­i­tary post has been the site of two mass shoot­ings since 2009.

In 2009, a Fort Hood ma­jor set to de­ploy to Afghanistan shot and killed 13 peo­ple and wounded 32 oth­ers at a build­ing where sol­diers were pro­cessed be­fore de­ploy­ment. The shooter, Maj. Ni­dal Hasan, was con­victed and sen­tenced to death for the shoot­ing.

In 2014, Spc. Ivan Lopez killed three peo­ple on the post be­fore killing him­self. The ram­page left 16 in­jured.

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